Mantic Ritual - Executioner
Nuclear Blast
Classic Thrash
12 songs (53:21)
Release year: 2009
Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Pete

Formally known as 'Meltdown', Mantic Ritual are thrashing it up like it was 1988. Cut those sleeves off your faded black Megadeth t-shirts, zip up those stretch jeans, dig out that beat up leather biker's jacket and get new laces for the pair of white hi-tech trainers with the long tongue. Because of Mantic Ritual's reach to the past it's understandable why they've emerged now rather than five years ago with the current revival of classic thrash. But why should we take notice of another band playing arguably one of the greatest musical movements ever? Well, first of all they're playing thrash and they play it very fast and they play it very well. But this isn't the be all and end all with thrash. Do they have the songs to back themselves up?

Executioner has all the ingredients perfectly measured. Staccato and lighting riffing. Pounding and sprouting one-hundred mile an hour drums, thudding and rolling bass lines and barked vocals. If you put all these together and throw tempo changes around like confetti then you're onto a winner from the outset. On this level Executioner works like a dream. It contains some excellent chugging and the classic thrash breakdowns, Black Tar Sin perhaps containing the best of them. It also has several songs worthy of a mention. One By One and the title track are fist pumpingly likeable. Souls is played at break neck speed and really takes you back to the 'good ole days', and Panic and Next Attack are just great, plain and simple.

But for every good tune there is a song that is no more than a tuneless row. Death And Destruction, the ridiculously titled Murdered To Death and Double The Blood don't really contain anything memorable except for a pretty feeble guitar solo in Double The Blood. It sometimes comes across that the band throws what riffs they have at a song and hope for the best. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When it does, Executioner is very enjoyable, when it doesn't you'll be skipping back to the good tracks fairly quickly.

Production wise the album once again has that late eighties feel. Mantic Ritual avoid the temptation to down tune their guitars instead going for clarity and intensity rather than a distorted wall of mud. Unfortunately it hurts the ears because of the mid range coarse tone of the guitars. The overpowering snare drum takes over the mix whenever the band are going hell for leather, which is pretty much most of the time. It all may sound retro, and believe me it is, but with a pair of ears accustomed to warm sounding guitars and tidy drums it's a little difficult to get used to.

Executioner isn't a bad album, far from it, it's just flawed in certain areas. They have the attitude and deliver heads down thrash when they want to. Sadly not all of it hits the mark. Add to this a grating production and you have an album that you'll like and dislike in equal measure. If I was introducing a friend to the modern version of classic thrash I certainly wouldn't start with Mantic Ritual. I'd begin with Evile and Savage Messiah before handing over Executioner. Having said that, any band that embraces thrash and has the balls to have a cover of 'Blackout' by the Scorpions on their album must be applauded. Try before you buy (great cover art).

Killing Songs :
Black Tar Sin, One By One, Executioner, Panic, Next Attack
Pete quoted 74 / 100
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