One of Hells Headbangers earliest releases was Manticore’s debut album, ‘Bowels Of The Holy Anoint Us In Evil’. Together with a few other of those other early acts (like Nunslaughter, Destruktor and Atomizer) the music delivered on this particular Manticore record cemented the label’s very musical blueprint for most of those early years. A blistering non-conformist sort of Black/Death/Thrash Metal attack that leaves no room for any of whatever kind of trend. Now, that Manticore album was released two decades ago and ever since the band and label have teamed up a couple of time more, yet the band also tried out several other labels over those years, but I was happy to see them return to Hells Headbangers. Some things do belong to each other, just like thunder and lightning, needles and pins and Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
Though I have to admit I have not followed each step of Manticore all that closely, I have picked up a few of their split 7” EP’s over the years, though, and those recordings reassured me that the band didn’t lose any of their initial ferocity and unpolished aggression. On this new record, only their fourth since their inception in 2000, ‘Endless Scourge Of Torment’ the band just plunges into that cesspool of Black Metal, Death Metal and Thrash Metal, in which each of those genres are seemingly evenly poured. The frantic pace and relentless pummelling create that chaotic atmosphere in which both guitar and vocals are duelling for some attention of their own. Manticore, after existing well over two decades, still doesn’t want to anything to do with anything which can even be vaguely associated with subtlety. The only variety that they offer is a bit of a breather in a few of the songs in which they throttle down a tad, on those moments you are able to discern a slight doomy ambience, which has apparently always lurked in a devious and vicious way. Just take a listen to ‘In Dark We Are Enslaved’, a song with a title that fits seamlessly to its oppressing atmosphere. And while you’re at it, the next song is called ‘Captain Howdy’. Indeed, a Twisted Sister cover from their 3 million copies selling album ‘Stay Hungry’. Its slow and dragging character was translated pretty well to the Manticore tradition of music that is a little darker and more evil than Tweedledee and Tweedledum.