Manticora

Rating: 92/100

Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen, October '04
Label: Massacre Records
Style: Power Metal

8 Deadly Sin

What I consider Denmark's finest power metal band is back with yet another great release. This is the follow up to their highly praised "Hyperion" and once more this is a concept album. This time about a man, who on his death bed, is looking back at his life. The story begins with an intro, where we are introduced to a new dimension in Manticora's music - Finn Zierler on keyboards (Beyond Twilight), he really brings more life to their music I think.

Musically it's pretty much like we are used to, however with the addition of Finn's dark keyboard passages and soundscapes, which I think is a very positive thing on this album. If they want to stop being compared with Blind Guardian, then they should stop writing songs like: "It Feels Like The End" and "Help Me Like No One Can", because the choruses are very similar, and Lars' vocals has the same limitations, that Hansi Kursch has, not that any of those are bad vocalists - it's just that they don't have that much range. I would still call their style power metal with a slight symphonic/progressive edge, this time underlined by Finn's dark and atmospheric playing. All 8 tracks - plus an intro and an outro - are great songs with great guitar-work and leads, cool and tight rhythm section, Lars' best performance so far and brilliant keyboards. My personal favorite is perhaps their fastest song ever: "Playing God" with some great soli stuff from both Martin and Finn, and a great atmospheric chorus - excellent!

The album has an excellent production - they've recorded it in Jailhouse Studios with Tommy Hansen behind the boards, and like always he delivers the goods!

And to complete the total package is the arkwork from Mattias Norén - no introduction needed - dark and moody, fits the music very well.

Now for the fourth time, Manticora has delivered an outstanding album, and like on previous occations I wish they would make it big this time. The album is without a doubt one of the finest power metal albums of the year, and hopefully their new deal with Massacre Records helps them on their way up the very steep hill. Do give them a chance - the album surely deserves it ...!

Recommended tracks: "King Of The Absurd", "Playing God" and "It Feels Like The End"