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Review: Manticora - Safe

Label: Nightmare Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 49:27
Tracks: 7
Genre: Progressive Power Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: January 10, 2011
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating

Rated 4.29/5 (85.71%) (14 Votes)

Last thing I heard from Denmark's Manticora was 2001's Darkness With Tales To Tell, an album I liked but found hard to get into. Over the years, the band have gotten a lot of good press for their more brutal take on the style, but the album everyone seems to be talking about is Safe, their latest tome of thrashy Prog-Power that hits you over the head like a double-headed hammer.

While a lot of time may have passed between Safe and Darkness, Manticora sound almost unchanged, except here things are a bit more aggressive, with more concentration on energetic riff work and off-kilter vocal melodies, strongly reminiscent of Savage Circus, or of course, good old Blind Guardian. The most interesting aspect of Manticora's music is vocalist Lars F. Larsen, who attacks the mic with a gruff style halfway between Hansi Kursch and Mike Scalzi. I wasn't sure about his performance on the Fools Game record (production issues stopped me from enjoying that one, too), but here his work is very good, enhancing tracks like "Silence The Freedom" and "A Lake That Drained", saving them from being stilted and dull.

I'm not overly fond of extremity in Power Metal unless it hinges on some great innovation, so while "In The Abyss Of Desperation" and the album's immensely epic title track do push all the right buttons, Safe is a little too safe for me.

Other related information on the site
Review: Darkness With Tales To Tell (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Hyperion (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Roots Of Eternity (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Roots Of Eternity (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Safe (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
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