Ode to the Flame

The German duo Mantar made quite a ruckus with 2014’s Death by Burning, which combined classic American thrash with slower, noisier bits of shrapnel and debris. The band got snatched up by Nuclear Blast—the label responsible for classic bands like Carcass, Immortal and Slayer—and with Ode to the Flame, Mantar has picked up right where it left off. Like Mantar’s debut, Ode is loaded with memorable riffs and dirge-y interludes, but this time the band—guitarist-vocalist Hanno and drummer-vocalist Erinc—mixes up the tempos and dynamics better, especially on “Praise the Plague.” And the duo’s not afraid to touch on rock ’n’ roll on songs like “Era Borealis” and album-closer “Sundowning.” Bottom line: Ode to the Flame shows Mantar becoming more confident as songwriters—trimming the fat and upping the bone crushing. Here’s hoping they stay hungry.