Genre/Influences: Gothic, goth-rock, medieval.
Background/Info: Martin Schindler is the creative spirit and music instigator of Mantus, a gothic orientated project he’s now running for twenty years. Together with singer Chiara Amberia he achieved two different albums.
Content: “Katharsis” is a rather typical Mantus work, which sounds definitely gothic, but is also into dark-rock elements and few goth-metal passages. You’ll easily recognize the typical melancholia of the band and the alternation between male- and female vocals. “Immer Wieder” reminds me a bit of Within Temptation for the volume of Chiara’s vocals. The melancholia has been mixed with powerful guitar parts and carrying electronic choruses. You’ll also notice the artistic and somewhat neo-classical arrangements.
“Pagan Folk Songs” is not just an extra disc. Mantus explores medieval sonic paths, achieving a real tour de force. It’s more pagan and folk-like, getting us back to the imagery of the Middle Ages and the music of troubadours. You get the impression the songs have been played by real instruments, but I’m afraid that’s just an illusion… but a damned good one! Flutes, bagpipes and tambourines are just a few instruments you might recognize on this work filled with reverie and, which remains mainly instrumental.
+ + + : This is an album with two different albums, and each one is worthy of examination. I like “Pagan Folk Songs” for its innovative side. This is a new experiment for Martin Schindler, but definitely an album that might open new perspectives and who knows, maybe a side-project. I like the fairy-like approach. But next to this great bonus work, “Katharsis” also reveals a band in good shape. It’s more traditional and faithful to what we’re used to hearing from Mantus, but here again the songs are pure lust for the ears. The melodies and melancholia both are efficient, but I also noticed great guitar parts and heavenly female vocals while Martin’s growls inject some extra darkness.
– – – : My only regret is that the songs of “Pagan Folk Songs” haven’t been composed with authentic instruments, which would have added an extra dimension to this cool work.
Conclusion: Nearly each new Mantus opus makes me say that this band deserves more recognition and especially from outside their homeland. They remain one of the most underrated bands from the gothic scene, but they always got my full support!
Best songs: “Tagebush”, “Sonne”, “Moment”, “Chaos”, “Pandopra” + “Scottish Dance – Part Two”, “Furor Celtica”, “Djeema El Fna”, “Yggdrasil”, “Pagan Spirit”, “Scottish Dance – Part One”.