TO KILL TO LIVE TO KILL
Released: August 3, 2018
Danish thrash/power metallers Manticora, are preparing to release their newest album “To Kill to Live to Kill” (on August 3), the first since 2010’s “Safe”. Formed in 1997, the band has released 7 albums and toured numerous times around Europe as well as in the US and played at prestigious festivals, such as Wacken Open Air, Sweden Rock Festival, ProgPower USA, etc. This is the first part of a concept double-album, that will be released as two separate albums, one year apart. It’s based on the horror novel that was written by the lead singer, Lars F. Larsen, and the artwork resembles the stories of the novel.
When it comes to double albums, I have my top three as follow: Kobra and the Lotus’s Prevail, Stone Sour’s House of Gold & Bones, and Kamelot’s Epica / Black Halo (the Faust concept albums). So I know how difficult it is, for a band, to maintain the same level of musicianship throughout two albums. Also since one of my favorite songs is Seventh Wonder’s “The Great Escape”, which is based on Harry Martinson’s poem ‘Aniara’, I know how hard it is to translate a narrative into music. Based on all of the above I dived head first into Manticora’s “To kill to live to kill”, expecting some dramatism, mood changes, and many more horror elements that would make the storyline clearer.
Piano concerto 1 – B flat minor
Echoes of a silent scream
Through the eyes of the killer – towering over you
Katana – awakening the lunacy
The farmer’s tale pt. 1 – the aftermath of indifference
The Devil in Lisbon
Nothing lasts forever
Katana – opium
Through the eyes of the killer – revival of the muse that is violence
The farmer’s tale pt. 2 – annihilation at the graves
What we get is a very dense and hefty metal album, with many wonderful, thrashy guitar lines and riffs, intense drumming, groovy bass lines, and soaring vocals. Everything a metal head would love
can be found here, in ample amount, from thrash anthem “Echoes of a silent scream” all the way to “The farmer’s tale pt. 2 – annihilation at the graves”. I left out the first track, “Piano
concerto 1 – B flat minor”, because, cinematic as it may be, it doesn’t fit with the album’s theme, not even as an intro, but from the second track onwards, you’ll get sucked into a whirlpool of
guitars, drums and vocals that will have you headbanging to the beat. However, there are softer moments to counter the heaviness, as on “The farmer’s tale pt. 1 – the aftermath of indifference”
or on the instrumental pieces “The Devil in Lisbon” (one of my favorites) as well as the metal ballad “Nothing last forever”.
There is also a lot of variety to be found, and again I point to “The Devil in Lisbon” as an example, with its many twists and turns, but I also point to the lengthy, borderline prog piece “Growth”, or closing track “The farmer’s tale pt. 2 – annihilation at the graves”. The dramatism is also well represented with a couple of key moments, among which “Nothing lasts forever” is a real heartbreaker. Nonetheless, it’s a very cohesive and coherent metal album, all the way through.
However, I am missing the horror elements here, as I feel this is a standard metal album, and I was expecting something a bit livelier, and with a more dramatic backing orchestration. I mean wasn’t this supposed to be based on a horror story? Also, after a couple of listens through, I still don’t fully understand the concept behind this album, as I often get lost in the lengthy instrumental pieces. Therefore, from a ‘concept album’ point of view, I have here the same issues I had with Borealis’ “The Offering”, because I am not feeling it.
In conclusion, Manticora’s “To Kill to Live to Kill” is a good metal album, from a band that clearly has a lot of potential and talent, though a bit long for my taste, clocking in at 70 minutes. But if you want tons of aggressive riffing, layered instrumental, headbang-ish rhythms, then give this album a listen.
Rating: 8 / 10
Lars F. Larsen – vocals
Kristian Larsen – guitars
Stefan Johansson – guitars
Sebastian Andersen – bass
Lawrence Dinamarca – session drums