|Review: Manticora - Safe|
Label: Nightmare Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: November 21, 2010
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 4.29/5 (85.71%) (14 Votes)
I always thought Manticora were a quality, reliable act. Their brand of power metal has always been of the heavier variety, and over the last few years they've had quite the spree of excellent albums. Safe is no different, in fact I think Safe is the perfect example of what Manticora are all about.
Heavy guitars, superb drum work that never relies on the double pedal as a crutch, quality arrangements and of course the love-them-or-hate-them vocals of Lars F. Larsen is what Safe is all about. Concerning the vocals I fall into the former camp, I think Lars has a quality voice, similar to Hansi Kursch in some places – particularly in the layered vocal parts – however Lars' delivery is a touch more aggressive. The production is nice and clear, although nothing too pristine; with a good low end on the guitars which is enhanced by what I'm guessing is the use of 7-string guitars.
Seven tracks comprise Safe, with the majority of them around the five/six minute mark except of course the 14 minute plus title track, each of which are of a similarly great quality, although standouts would include "From the Pain of Loss (I Learned About the Truth)" boasting an awesome chorus and some of the heaviest moments from the album in its intro. "Carrion Eaters" isn't too far removed from earlier Nevermore, with the guitar leads on this song being particularly melodic and expressive standing as my favorite moment.
Overall if you've never heard Manticora before, then this is the album to start with, encompassing everything the band is about. Progressive arrangements, unconventional vocal melodies, top notch musicianship and of course some of the heaviest music to ever fly under the power metal moniker. While I still feel The Black Circus is their finest release, Safe isn't too far behind in terms of quality. If you like the flower firmly out of your power you really should check out Manticora. Recommended.
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