Northern Germany’s feral two piece MANTAR have achieved more in five years than most bands twice their age and size. The product of a twenty year friendship between guitarist/vocalist Hanno Klaenhardt and drummer Erinc Sakarya, theirs is a success story born entirely of one thing: hard work, with 3 albums, an EP and a live release already to their name. Releasing their 2014 Svart Records debut “Death By Burning,” an uncompromising clash of stripped-back punk attitude and metal intensity to instant critical acclaim, the band toured relentlessly, gracing stages the world over, including the hallowed likes of Roadburn (NL), Wacken Open Air (D) and Maryland Deathfest (US). They used 2016’s “Ode To The Flame,” their Nuclear Blast Records debut, to further build upon their incendiary live reputation, conquering not only Europe and the US, but Russia, Japan and South Africa.
Now, following a brief period of repose which saw Hanno move to Florida, MANTAR return with »The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze«, a short, sharp shock that hones the hungry riffs and breath-taking pace of their previous records.
“We skipped the bullshit,” explains Hanno. “I wanted 3 or 4 minute songs; bam, bam, bam. Every song different, catchy – that’s what rock and roll is about.”
MANTAR’s metallic genesis is unique in that neither member classes themself as a metalhead. Hanno’s a punk kid that developed a love for black metal later in life. Erinc’s tastes are even further removed, preferring the svelte sadness of the likes of THE SISTERS OF MERCY. “But we have a metal audience and we are a metal band, I guess!” states Hanno proudly, “I take that as a gift.” He’s never listened to more classic metal records than when writing “The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze,” and it shows in the album’s ceaseless, hook-laden riffs and caustically blackened, nihilistic atmosphere.
“Riffs, riffs, riffs are the only hard currency for MANTAR – simple as fuck – that’s what I like,” says Hanno. “‘The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze’ is way more metal than the previous two records; on the other hand I think the songs speak for themselves, without the need for genre classification.”
“The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze” is a title in-keeping with Hanno’s symbolic obsession with fire on albums previous; this time disavowing mankind’s tendency to blindly follow those that would lead us into oblivion. This isn’t necessarily a political statement; more a morbid fascination with current smouldering tensions that threaten to set the minds of the masses on fire. “The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze” is the spark that will ignite the flame – especially onstage.
“I’m addicted to those moments up there,” impresses Hanno, “being loud, raw and aggressive – setting the stage ablaze, causing violence; that’s what I live for.”
Read our review here.