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MANTICORA

Progressive Metal • Denmark


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Manticora biography
MANTICORA is a progressive metal band from Copenhagen, Denmark formed in 1997 by Lars Larsen (vocals), Kristian Larsen (guitars) and Mads Volf (drums). In the early days the band was a foursome with Rene (bass) as the last member. They recorded a MCD "Dead End Solution" which led the band to sign with Intomental Management and signed their first record deal with Greek record label Black Lotus in 1998.

The same year the band added an extra guitarist, Flemming, and a keyboardist, Jeppe to the line-up. They released their debut album "Roots Of Eternity" in the summer of 1999.

In 2000, the band signed with the Italian label Scarlet Records and released their second album "Darkness With Tales To Tell.

In 2001, Rene (bass) decided to leave the band to focus on his family and was replaced with Kasper Gram. The same year, Flemming left the band and was replaced by Martin Arendal.

In the fall of 2002, they released their third studio album "Hyperion" which was an epic concept album based on the award winning sci-fi novel, "The Hyperion Cantos" by Dan Simmons. They embarked on a European tour in the spring of 2003 and started writing for their next studio album early in 2004.

Their fourth studio album "8 Deadly Sins" was recorded in March/April of 2004 in Jailhouse Studios with producer Tommy Hansen (HELLOWEEN, PRETTY MAIDS, HATESPHERE, TNT, to name a few).

In early 2005, the band toured throughout Europe with ANGRA and EDENBRIDGE. During this time they were joined with session-guitarist Stefan Johansson and Swedish keyboardist Andreas Lindahl and made their first US appearance at the ProgPower Festival in Atlanta, GA.

Martin Arendal returned to the band and they went into the studio to record their fifth studio album, the first of a two album concept, "The Black Circus" which deals with the horror story of a travelling circus in the 19th century New England. The lyrics are written as letters from the main character to another person. After a mini-European tour with ANDROMEDA, the band went back to the studio and recorded "The Black Circus Part 2" with the help of new permanent keyboard player Ronni Clasen.

WHY THIS BAND IS IN THE ARCHIVES:

MANTICORA plays keyboard driven progressive metal with power and thrash overtones. They were approved by the Prog Metal Team and are recommended.

Manticora official website

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Buy MANTICORA Music


HyperionHyperion
Nightmare Records 2005
Audio CD$9.58
$7.81 (used)
8 Deadly Sins8 Deadly Sins
Nightmare Records 2005
Audio CD$6.96
$6.96 (used)
Roots of EternityRoots of Eternity
Import
Heavencross Records 2005
Audio CD$6.07
$8.65 (used)
Darkness With Tales to TellDarkness With Tales to Tell
Import
Scarlet 2006
Audio CD$16.70
$1.82 (used)
SafeSafe
Nightmare Records / RED General Catalog 2010
Audio CD$8.33
$6.19 (used)
Black CircusBlack Circus
Locomotive Spain 2007
Audio CD$11.66
$7.69 (used)
Black CircusBlack Circus
Locomotive Spain 2006
Audio CD$31.65
$5.00 (used)
Roots of EternityRoots of Eternity
Black Lotus 2011
Audio CD$9.00
$3.98 (used)
8 Deadly Sins8 Deadly Sins
Extra tracks · Import
Imports 2004
Audio CD$9.41
$10.88 (used)
The Black CircusThe Black Circus
Massacre Records 2011
Audio CD$15.99
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MANTICORA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MANTICORA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.71 | 7 ratings
Roots Of Eternity
1999
3.17 | 6 ratings
Darkness With Tales To Tell
2001
4.14 | 7 ratings
Hyperion
2002
2.37 | 8 ratings
8 Deadly Sins
2004
4.00 | 7 ratings
The Black Circus Part 1 - Letters
2006
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Black Circus Part 2 - Disclosure
2007
3.67 | 8 ratings
Safe
2010

MANTICORA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MANTICORA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MANTICORA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MANTICORA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 2 ratings
Dead End Solution
1997

MANTICORA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Black Circus Part 1 - Letters by MANTICORA album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 7 ratings

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The Black Circus Part 1 - Letters
Manticora Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Black Circus, Part 1: Letters" is the 5th full-length studio album by Danish power metal act Manticora. The album was released in August 2006 by Massacre Records. As the title suggests itīs the first part of a two album concept. The second part titled "The Black Circus, Part 2: Disclosure" was released in 2007.

on "The Black Circus, Part 1: Letters" Manticora play a quite intriguing and effectful blend of Euro power metal, traditional heavy metal, progressive metal and thrash metal. They are definitely one of the more harder edged European power metal acts out there. Lead vocalist Lars Larsen has a hoarse type voice that sets Manticora apart from most other power metal acts and probably is an aquired taste for some. The addition of female vocals in "Wisdom" are a nice feature that brings varation. There are other more unmistakable power metal features in the music though, like fast played double bass pedal sections, grand choirs and anthemic choruses. Some of those parts remind me slightly of an act like Blind Guardian and how they sounded in the early- to mid nineties. The music is predominantly guitar driven and there are quite a few harmonies being played on the album that reminds me of Iron Maiden. The last influence Iīm gonna mention is King Diamond. Itīs not only because of the dark horror/ freakshow themed concept lyrics, which have a definite King Diamond quality about them (just listen to the accented narration in some of the tracks), but also because of the semi-thrashy, melodic and powerful music style that Manticora practises.

The reason for the "Letters" in the title of "The Black Circus, Part 1: Letters", is that the lyrics for each of the tracks on the album is a letter written by the narrator to a friend. Telling the tale of his encounter with a black gypsy circus where foul yet exciting things take place. The album features 12 tracks (the Japanese version includes the bonus track "Soul Devourer"). Only 7 out of those 12 tracks are "regular" length tracks though. The remaining tracks are shorter atmosphere enhancing intros and interludes with narration that helps the storyline come along. Intros and interludes donīt always work on concept albums like this, but here they do exactly what they are intended to do. They create atmosphere and suspense before the more "regular" tracks take over and they do it well. Speaking of the "regular" tracks they are all high quality power metal tracks with an emphasis on power. They are quite sophisticated though and therefore a progressive power metal tag isnīt all wrong.

The sound production by Tommy Hansen (who also helped arrange and compose the keyboard parts) is also of high class. A very professional and powerful sounding production.

"The Black Circus, Part 1: Letters" is just through and through a high quality power metal album that should appeal to fans of the more hard hitting yet still melodic adventurous/progressive part of the genre. I think itīs a very impressive release featuring brilliant musicianship, clever songwriting and one hell of a powerful production and a 4 - 4.5 star rating isnīt too much.

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 Safe by MANTICORA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.67 | 8 ratings

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Safe
Manticora Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Safe" is the 7th full-length studio album by Danish power metal act Manticora. The album was released in October 2010 by Nightmare Records. Manticora has long been one of the most prolific Danish power metal acts on the scene consistently releasing quality power metal albums.

The music on "Safe" pretty much follow the usual formula for Manticora. That means power metal rooted in the neo-classical euro power metal tradition but with a much heavier and at times even thrashy edge to it compared to the more whimsical style many of their collegues practice. Lead vocalist Lars F. Larsen can hit some pretty high notes but predominantly sings in a hoarse vocal style (think a heavy metal version of Rod Stewart). But ultimately itīs the powerful and memorable riffs that make all the difference to me. While the music features keyboards this is predominatly guitar driven power metal. The tracks are generally structurally complex and it wouldnīt be wrong to call the music progressive power metal. Especially the 14:10 minutes long title track. The tracks are memorable with anthemic choruses but I never feel that Manticora fall into the cheese trap. Their music is simply too intricate, tasteful and challenging for that. At the same time it can kick some serious ass which the opening track "In The Abyss Of Desperation" is a good example of.

With a professional and powerful sound production, clever songwriting and excellent musicianship "Safe" is in my book one great power metal album that I can highly recommend to fans of the more progressive and heavy part of the power metal genre. I guess Lars F. Larsen hoarse voice might pose and issue to some, but personally I enjoy his vocal style and sound. A 3.5 - 4 star rating is fully deserved.

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 Safe by MANTICORA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.67 | 8 ratings

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Safe
Manticora Progressive Metal

Review by praj912

3 stars Following on from their two-part epic "Black Circus", Manticora have undergone a bit of a change in sound.

Firslty, they've tuned-down their guitars to get a crunchier gruntier feel. Secondly, they've dropped the fantasy vibe that was present on the "Black Circus" concept album and thirdly they've written some really good lyrics!!!

So what does this mean? Well, they've lost a bit of their progressiveness but gained a whole lot more accessibility. They still retain their thrashy edge and melodic sensibilities but everything is a bit more stripped back. Keyboards are minimal and there is less going on in the background but they're still happy to compose lengthy instrumental sections and come up with a few twists and turns.

Good for metal fans but not essential for proggers.

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 The Black Circus Part 1 - Letters by MANTICORA album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 7 ratings

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The Black Circus Part 1 - Letters
Manticora Progressive Metal

Review by praj912

4 stars Probably a 4 star epic thrash/power metal album and their best to date (pre-Safe). The lyrics are actually quite good, despite a couple of funny lines. The music is very enjoyable European style thrash riffing, powerhouse drumming with Malmsteen-esque lead guitar, Maiden-esque harmony solos, with Blind Guardian-esque vocals and epic-ness. There's a King Diamond-esque imagination to the songs and keyboards and apart from the interludes and the not-so-good 'Freakshow' this is a worthy piece of imaginative prog/thrash.

Making all those references is a little unfair (or a compliment), Manticora have their own sound . Worth a listen if you like this kind of stuff and certainly one of the better and more original sounding bands in the genre.

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 8 Deadly Sins by MANTICORA album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.37 | 8 ratings

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8 Deadly Sins
Manticora Progressive Metal

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars 8 DEADLY SINS is concept album about a man lying in his death bed and remembering the positive and negative things he has done in his life. The sound is usual for Manticora - speed power metal with some Iron Maiden influences. Differently from early works, the band left their Iron Maiden imitations in their past ( what doesn't means that you wouldn't hear still many of Maiden-ish moments on this album).

But another element they are mixing in their sound now is power metal borrowed from Helloween. Just add faster rhythm, trashy Metallica moments to this Scandinavian metal mix, and you can perfectly imagine, what this album is alike.

To be honest, musicians all are competent, so the main problem there is lack of originality.

And if for collectors of all possible heavy metal music on the world this album could be just regular average victim, for those searching for style and originality this work is just another heavy metal album. You choose.

P.S. This band doesn't play keyboards based prog metal as stated in bio. It will be strange for quartet of two guitars,bass and drums, isn't it?

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 Dead End Solution by MANTICORA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1997
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Dead End Solution
Manticora Progressive Metal

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Debut EP by Danish heavy metal band Manticora is disappointment (if you're not a metalhead). Double-guitars driven classic heavy metal quartet are heavily influenced by Iron Maiden, but plays music which in all senses are far from their gods.

Vocals is still so-so, musical level is average, but the main problem is total lack of originality. The music varies between melodic and speedy, but are very faceless. In fact, absence of compositional abilities destroys not so bad musicianship. The only good news there are there are still 5 songs on this EP. So, it wouldn't take too much time just to finish listening and forget about them.

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 Dead End Solution by MANTICORA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1997
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Dead End Solution
Manticora Progressive Metal

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars The first album review of this Danish band.

I have been sold this band on the idea that this is a keyboard dominated prog metal band. Well, on this mini CD, they are not. This is pretty standard heavy metal in the vein of Iron Maiden, Gamma Ray and Helloween. The vocals are pretty bad. The music is not too bad. It is a mix of hard heavy metal and melodic ballads. The guitars are pretty good. Keyboards ? Not a single tone. Prog ? Well, there are some hints of some prog here. But the main theme is heavy metal. All the cliches are here. All of them. This band is recommended by PA, but not because of this mini CD, I guess. Well, we all have to start somewhere. This is their start and it did not move the earth for me.

2 stars

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