With *8 Deadly Sins* (Their Fifth album) you get exactly what you could expect - a band evolving and fine-tuning all their best assets, be it the power metal side of their sound, or the dark brooding melodic/progressive mind. MANTICORA have never sounded better!
In the music of Manticora you find inspirations from such artists as Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Metallica, Jag Panzer, Helloween, Nevermore, Gamma Ray etc. in two words HEAVY METAL !!! Reviews from journalists all over the World have had a hard time labeling the band, however all agree that Manticora is unique and a band with a great future ahead of them. For Manticora the lyrical side of things are important as well with Manticora, it all comes down to one thing, setting the mood for some fascinating stories ...
The album was recorded in March/April 2004 in Jailhouse Studios with producer Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids, HateSphere, TNT etc.). The sound is incredible - an audio experience of the largest scale! Joining the band on this album is keyboardist Finn Zierler (Beyond Twilight, ex-Twilight), making the overall sound more eerie and progressive. .
From the multilayered vocal harmonies, to the incisive, razor-sharp guitar riffs, everything flows perfectly. Without following any particular template, MANTICORA doesn't venture to far from the Power Metal mould, which means you'll get plenty of fast double bass drums lines couple with top notch soloing. Like it was for "Hyperion", their latest album, "8 Deadly Sins" is also a concept, thus, songs are to be taken as a whole instead of unique pieces. Everything flows like a good story that keeps you hooked until the end of it.
8 DEADLY SINS, a concept album about a man lying in his death bed and remembering the positive and negative things he has done in his life, is the fifth album by Danish melodic metal band Manticora. Although this power metal stuff is repeating itself again and again, Manticora show at least on some tracks that they are able to differ from the big number of metal clones releasing too many albums. Melancholic and Creature Of Failure are two faster and even slightly brutal songs containing thrash metal elements. Especially the bombastic vocal lines remind me of the very early Blind Guardian. Unfortunately there are also some calmer and epic elements on the album that often sound too traditional. I know that there are actually lots of metal fans who like this stuff, but haven't we heard a song like Enigma already hundreds of times before? Especially the ballad Fall From Grace really made me skip to the next track. I'm sure that this album may be ok for the classic metal masses, but for my taste, Manticora could develop into a more thrashy direction as they proved with some songs on this album that this is absolutely no problem for them.
Danish power metal outfit Manticora have mostly been described as a great band with a so-so vocalist. As a consequence, none of their three previous studio albums - "Roots Of Eternity" (1997), "Darkness With Tales To Tell" (2001) and "Hyperion" (2002) - were praised by all of the international press.
This might change with "8 Deadly Sins" though. On their fourth effort, again a concept album, the Intromental managed Danes take their power metal with progressive influences to a seriously higher level. Much of the aggression and the accompanying thrash influences that were present on "Hyperion" are gone, making way for a more progressive approach. This might be an obvious consequence of guest keyboardist Finn Zierler's presence. Zierler, known as the mastermind of Beyond Twilight, brings even more darkness and drama into Manticora's songs. The combination of his key whirls and Kristian Larsen's guitar loops give them a serious quality boost. This is especially the case with the otherwise pretty fast "Playing God", the aptly titled "Melancholic", "Creator Of Failure" and "Enigma". The song following those tree surprised me even more though. While still fast and powerful in the Manticora tradition, "It Feels Like The End" must be the most melodic track they've ever recorded. The same trend is followed with the aforementioned "Enigma" and semi-ballad "Fall From Grace", which is a positive thing for those who like their power metal served up with lots of melody.
'What about the vocalist?', I hear you asking. Well, much against the wishes of many, he's still in the band and in my opinion he has overdone himself on this one. Let's be clear: Lars F. Larsen will never be a superb vocalist, but he at least finally proved he's not the weakest link in this band anymore. His vocals make up about half of Manticora's sound, so let's hope critics, myself included, will stop requesting an other vocalist. Another producer will not be necessary at all either. Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids, TNT) has outdone himself again at Jailhouse Studios and has delivered one of the best and most powerful sounding power metal records of recent.
"8 Deadly Sins" is without a doubt the ultimate Manticora album up till now. If a combination of power, speed, melody and progressive influences sounds nice to your ears, you'll devour this as us Belgians do with fries. (SL)
REVIEW FROM ROCKREPORT.COM 5 OF 6 POINTS