A fanboy’s review: Mantar – “Pain Is Forever And This Is The End”

Boy, oh (fan)boy – a new Mantar album! Finally! And OF COURSE I had to get the limited edition deluxe box set – and now I’m faced with a problem …

But first things first: With PIFATITE (don’t you love it when album titles can be shortened to weird acronyms?), the gruesome twosome from Bremen/Florida unleash a nasty bit of sonic hate and anger unto the world. But this time, apparently, things almost got too real and the band nearly broke up during the recording process. But it was worth it: Pain Is Forever…  is the most varied and multilayered record that the two black metal punks (don’t call it sludge!) have released so far.

The songs vary between black metal frenzy (e.g. in “Piss ritual”) and “classical” rock’n’roll song structures, which definitely comes as a result of their 2020 release Grungetown Hooligans II (a cover EP on which Mantar paid their respects to some of their 90s alternative favourites like L7, Sonic Youth, Mudhoney et al.) At first, the EP was a release that didn’t fully satisfy my Mantar cravings. And accordingly, I was a little skeptical at first, every time I heard/read that THIS EP was supposed to have had a great influence on the new album. Fortunately, I was wrong to worry as it now turns out!

The new complexity in songwriting and production (singer/guitarist Hanno for the first time did not try to emulate their stage sound on the record, but played with a few more elements in the mix) is noticeable, for example, in the restrained tones in the intro of “Of Frost and Decay” and in songs like “New Age Pagan”, “Piss Ritual” and “Orbital pus”. And even though Hanno still roars and croaks as pissed-off as ever on most parts of the album, from time to time you now can almost hear him sing!

Despite all this hate-turned-into-music, Mantar have never been at a loss for nice hooks and catchy melodies. And of course, this new album is no exception. They prove this, especially in my personal favorite song “Grim Reaping” as well as the first single release “Hang ’em Low (so the rats can get ’em)” – two perfect tracks on an overall perfect album.

But now let’s talk about the problem I mentioned earlier: The limited edition deluxe box set does not only come with a lyric book full of gorgeous photos (a first in Mantar history!) or a back patch or a placenta slipmat. No. On top of the album on gorgeous clear vinyl, they also included a second pale-green marbled LP, entitled The Blackness Of Darkness Forever which is a more lo-fi mix of the main album. And now I can’t decide which version I like better. DAMN. Looks like I’ll be stuck listening to both versions again and again and again …

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About Christian Berg

Was born when Hank von Hell went through a mitosis and raised to be a Turbojugend member. Picked up by Messed!Up when he lost the camera in his massive beard. Work with advertisement/film production at daytime, dog walker in the afternoon, punk rock photographer at night. Loves music with loud guitars, preferably metalpunkrocknroll. Huge record collector. Period.
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