"Death by Burning" will help you fall back in love with old-fashioned heavy metal - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #203

In the circles I move, it’s fair to say we’ve fallen out of love with heavy metal. The old hands have become more and more florally embellished, and the new blood seems determined to ape this overcomplicatedness with gusto. Anyone can appreciate genre-defying gems like The Body’s excellent I Shall Die Here (which you should totally hear, if you haven’t already) but mainstream metal hasn’t been scratching any of my itches of late, until I found Mantar’s Death By Burning. I picked it up because of the cover, and the title, and figured it was the same pseudo-intellectual metal that still has merit, but it’s stripped-down standard heavy metal, and it’s excellent.

Sciencey science research from the Institute of Studies suggest that swearing is processed in a different part of the brain from the rest of language. So if I were to say shit, or fuck, or cunt, you’d process them with a completely different area than the rest of this otherwise mundane fucking sentence. Swearing is chiefly processed by the lower brain, associated with emotion and instinct. Music chiefly likes to massage and tickle the upper bits of the brain. Violin concertos and somnambulant stuff from before the Schism are intellectual, and further studies (presumably also from the Institute for Studies) indicate that heavy metal is far and away everyone’s least favourite genre. Something in the range of half of all people named it as their least favourite genre, and if you deign to listen to Mantar I think you’ll discover way. Heavy Metal is almost impossible to ignore; it punches the lower hemisphere, it is sonically profane music. To its supporters it is deeply instinctual and animalistic pleasure, and demands to be heard. There is no background heavy metal, it’ll never be used for mollifying people on hold, or filling lifts with silence-breaking muzak.
Photo by Jari Hee.

Mantar is the unignorable German twopiece that made me fall back in love with straightforward heavy metal. The uncomplicated riffs of Iron Maiden, the thudding heaviness of Black Sabbath, the surprising catchiness of Death, it all whirls together into a vortex of pure listenability, for those whose ears are prepared for the full atavistic lower-brain attack. I highly advise you to indulge, especially if you too feel a little disenchanted with the sound and fury of metal.

Written under duress by Steven.

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