Mantas – Death By Metal

Mantas – Death By Metal 1CD (purchased in Monorail Music on 25th June)

Amount spent on purchase: £11

Amount spent in total so far: £99

Imagine your next door neighbour’s kids were really into NWOBHM, Venom and Slayer and decided to start their own band. You can hear the racket seeping through the walls. They are punishingly loud, thrashing and enthusiastic. The kid singing is barking guttural noises so you can’t make out the words. If your reaction to this clamour would be “Hey, those guys are pretty good” then this is the album for you.

Chuck Schuldiner (along with Rick Rozz and Kam Lee) formed Mantas in school. Their early recordings, collected here, would be hugely influential and important in the genesis of Death Metal. However, their own influences are a bit too apparent here for this to qualify as the genre’s starting point and Schuldiner would have a stronger claim to the invention of Death Metal with his next venture, Death.

There are snatches of Venom (whose guitarist, Mantas, provided the band with their moniker), Metallica, Diamond Head (opener Legion of Doom has a riff mightily reminiscent of Am I Evil) and Slayer. But there is also enough of the guttural brutality that would define Death Metal for this to be historically interesting and original.

The tracks were mostly recorded live onto a Ghetto Blaster so the recordings are pretty “necro”. That said the effect of the rough recording is pretty exciting. It sounds like speakers being overdriven or like an overloud concert sound. All pretty conducive to an exciting Metal experience surely? Also, when I was a kid, I was in bands that would record this way and we never sounded this good.

There is a 2CD version of this available from Relapse in the US but it was a bit too pricey for me to buy as an import so I picked up the single disc version from my excellent local store, Monorail Music in Glasgow. The 2CD version is available as an iTunes download too so I can always treat myself to that later if need be.

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