Genre/Influences: Gothic, goth-rock.
Content: “Refugium” rapidly appears to be one of Mantus’ most versatile albums. A few albums like “Zeichen” and “Wölfe” appeared to be a harder fusion between gothic- and metal music while the previous work “Melancholia” revealed a softer and sensitive approach. I’m not saying “Refugium” is a symbiosis between previous releases and sources of inspiration, but it’s more open-minded.
There still is this typically German gothic sound, which has been polished by neo-classic arrangements while other parts are joined by furious guitar riffs. There is the occassional switch from male- to female vocals, Martin Schindler symbolizing the ‘evil’ and ‘Chiara Amberia’ the grace and beauty.
“Refugium” doesn’t deliver real surprises, but remains a deeply artistic creation featuring opposite styles melding into a sacred sound. The arrangements can be sensitive and refined with piano parts, but the next song might reveal a heavier and bombast, epic arrangement. Mantus is not predictable and that’s why this work is once more taking you by surprise.
+ + + : Martin Schindler remains to me one of the less recognized gothic artists in the scene. He brings multiple influences together in a solid and goth-transcendental sound. The arrangements are absolutely amazing while the female vocals inject this sensual and graceful touch.
– – – : The album reveals seseveral cool songs, but maybe not a kind of essential piece, which you would choose as a single. I can imagine the album’s diversity will not be praised by all gothic lovers.
Conclusion: Mantus remains a typical German gothic formation and “Refugium” will for sure enter into the band’s history as one of their most accomplished pieces.
Best songs: Schliess Die Augen”, “Traurig Bin Ich Sowieso”, “Zwischen Den Nächten”, “Kampf Der Kulturen”.