ALBUM REVIEW: Mantric – ‘Sin’

Mantric Sin

Mantric’s Sin is an absolutely intriguing listen. At first glance, it marries Steak Number Eight-style grunge groove with almost death metal inspired vocals. On second glance, however, you get a far deeper and more complex record. The album lurches away into Mastodon-like riff patterns, Opeth style fingerpicked openings and even more besides. Often in the same song. It is dark, brooding, calculated and almost effortlessly executed, and although there are criticisms to be made, they’re minor: this album, generally speaking, is an incredibly good piece from these Norwegian prog merchants.

I say “prog”, but “prog” in this case means about eight different genres, each given its own space in the jigsaw puzzle that is Sin. It’s a rich mixing bowl of regular metal, death metal. punk, alt-rock, classical guitar and even indie tones that come together to form a rather rich tapestry. This is, of course, before you notice on second or third listen the progression the album takes, emerging from dark guitar work, briefly into the light before plunging the listener back into sludgy-prog patterns with a force that appears effortless.

The guitar work in particular deserves credit. The riffs sound absolutely gigantic, as if they’re so big they needn’t overstretch themselves in order to make a further point. The point is usually made before half the song has elapsed, They’re so brutal that on occasion they even drown out some of the vocal work, which is a shame. There’s Haken-style layered vocal undertones to this record which are a little too subtle in one’s own opinion. Given a bit more exposure, this album would have been nigh-on classic levels of quality. Generally speaking, the mix is superb. Grungy, groove-driven alternative music is notoriously hard to get right at the mixing stage, but Mantric and their production team have done themselves proud here.

Standout tracks include On The Horizon, a song with grooves that absolutely scream “as good as Mastodon” at the listener. For the softer soul, Arrogance vs Anxiety briefly exhibits an almost blues-esque solo guitar. But once again, the listener only hears brief snippets before being dragged back into the progressive, violent tsunami of sound.

This record is superb. It doesn’t sod about with extreme experimentation, and the mix ensures the wall of sound is just that. A wall of pure-blood, crunching, accomplished sound which translates beautifully onto the record. Mantric are damned good. This record proves that they know it.

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