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Album Reviews : Mantra – Laniakea

By on January 11, 2017

review-mantra-laniakea-770x770France has exploded with metallic brilliance over the last 10 to 15 years, and Mantra are yet another Gallic act who are making a very strong statement with their output.

This band wears their influences reasonably openly upon their collective sleeve, you can certainly hear traces of their fellow French bands such as Hacride and Klone, although they are certainly a little more rough around the edges than those two acts. Tool and even Meshuggah cast rather lengthy shadows over their sound too. However, whilst drawing influence from a broad array of different sources, they channel it into something that is very much their own at the same time.

Laniakea is a real journey, with a real sense of dynamics and musical push and pull. The listener may find themselves in an ocean of ambient tranquillity, bludgeoned by a deep, doomy, heavy-arse groove, baffled by staccato odd-time playing, or thrilled by the more primal, tribal moments (check out Voices in the Cave). The vocals are multi-dimensional too, intermixing throat-ripping howls, deep growls and ethereal cleans. And it all makes for a listening experience that is enthralling and ever in motion.

Even beyond all that, there is yet further interest provided by the conceptual imagery inherent in the music, lyrics and imagery of the album, which is apparently rooted in and inspired by pre-historic times and Shamanic lore. These guys have obviously completely immersed themselves in the creation of every facet of this recording, from the pinpoint playing and production, to the structuring of the songs to the research of the topics involved. And the finished product is way more than completely convincing.

And everything comes together beautifully with the epic, intense dynamism of 13 minute closer Dead Sun (that said, the last four minutes is a quiet, repetitive tribal drumming outro).

What an underrated gem this record is, check it out NOW.

Band: Mantra
Album: Laniakea
Year: 2017
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Finisterian Dead End
Origin: France

 

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.