X-Mantra – Pralaya 2012
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
I know that the Black Wind Metal family doesn’t review much extreme metal (and neither do I), but from time to time, I like to expand my metal horizons and discover new bands from new countries that are playing music of all genres as long as the whole thing is well done. This is certainly the case for this honorable exception. Raise the curtains for X-Mantra, a heavy and thrash metal band with some minor but very decent death metal influences. The five musicians hail from Kathmandu, Nepal, and form one of the country’s first and most important genre acts since their creation back in 2000. The band has released three metal records entitled Crying For Peace, Kurshi, and the self-titled. In 2007, the band released some sort of a side project under their banner called “Madhyantar”, where they invited several guest singers to perform with them. The intriguing aspect about the project was that the invited Indian and Nepalese artists had hip-hop, new age, or pop backgrounds, like female singers Abhaya Subba and Ciney Gurung, or rappers Subash and PunK-AJ and Rajiv.
The conditions to record music in Nepal have become more and more expensive, even for famous bands, and that’s why it took the band five years to come around with Pralaya 2012. Later, the band signed with the British label King Slam Records in order to get some more international attention and promotion for their latest output.
The band’s fifth album is a thrash and groove album driven by hard riffs and a few melodic mid- to up-tempo guitar solos as heard in the diversified “Badala”, the apocalyptic and concept driven “2012”, or in the faster and quite pitiless banger “Chaya”. On the other side, we also have the mid-tempo “Bartaman”, which mixes elements of a dark rock ballad with straighter heavy metal parts. All band members and even the bassist show off their talent in this song. This exciting closer really stands out on the album because of its unusual style.
The vivid vocals that vary between an emotional thrash metal delivery, and a few death metal-affected passages. This singer truly has some charisma and talent. The final result isn’t a far call from a mixture of OverKill and Slayer, and recalls even elements from early Metallica apart from the harsher vocals.
While the record seemed to be monotonous at first listen, I enjoyed it more and more towards the end. Thanks to some rewarding patience, I’ve really ended up enjoying this release. The solid musicianship and the energy behind the honest performance make this band stand out from many others of its kind.
Those who feel like trying out some new-school thrash metal coming from an exotic, metal-developing country can easily do so by watching the cool video clip for “2012” or by directly trying out the entire explosive mixture on the band’s bandcamp site.
3.5 // 5