Album review: Mantar – Pain Is Forever And This Is The End

Heavy German duo Mantar refine their sludgy metal punch on Pain Is Forever And This Is The End.

Album review: Mantar – Pain Is Forever And This Is The End
Paul Travers

A lot of bands spun off the rails during lockdown. For Mantar, their mild breakdown involved a trip back to their roots with 2020’s knockabout Grungetown Hooligans II - featuring covers of songs by the likes of L7, Babes In Toyland and Mudhoney. For a band who have generally had an extreme metal tag slapped on them, the German duo have always had a hard rocking heart lurking beneath the blackened sludge crust. It seems, though, that their ’90s alt.rock flashback has had a lasting effect, as their cheerfully titled fourth album of original material is a punchier and more streamlined affair.

That’s not to say that the foetid distortion and raw, obnoxious edge are gone, or that Pain Is Forever And This Is The End is not every bit as misanthropic as its title suggests. Egosito kicks things off on a stomping death’n’roll groove before former single Hang ’Em Low (So the Rats Can Get ’Em) lobs a killer refrain that brings to mind Bleach-era Nirvana into a wash of droning blackgaze guitars. Similarly, Grim Reaping takes a trad metal riff and scrunches it into a tight ball of demonic bile, while Piss Ritual is a driving punk-metal banger careering out of control.

It’s not a wholesale reimagining of Mantar’s core sound, but they have honed in on the songs and hooks like never before. Everything here is utterly infectious. Especially if you think of catchiness in terms of the Black Death.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Torche, Cvlt Ov The Svn, Satyricon

Pain Is Forever And This Is The End is released on July 15 via Metal Blade

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