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MANTICORE

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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Manticore biography
Yet another heavily ELP-influenced (note the band's name) and short-lived symphonic band, MANTICORE produced a single album in 1993 before fading into obscurity. The band featured heavy use of string and choral-tinged mellotron, but not surprisingly considering the timing of their existence, the band also straddled the neo-progressive sound with their equally heavy use of synthesizers and contrived keyboard constructions. Their keyboard-heavy sound has also been compared to RICK WAKEMAN and to CAMEL.

The band's primary claim to fame was their association with Pär Lindh, who worked with the band early-on in their formation and co-founded the Swedish Art Rock Society with the band's members. Though Swedish, the band's vocals were mostly sung in English.

MANTICORE deserve a place in the archives for their creative dual mellotron symphonic music and their role in establishing a formal art rock society in Sweden.

Bob Moore (ClemofNazareth)

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Buy MANTICORE Music


Next Step: Flight 19Next Step: Flight 19
Space Place Records
$19.99
Behold the Ascension of..Behold the Ascension of..
Deathgasm 2012
$20.85
$5.99 (used)
Time to FlyTime to Fly
The Laser's Edge
$19.99
$10.99 (used)
Bowels of the Holy Anoint Us in EvilBowels of the Holy Anoint Us in Evil
Hells Headbangers 2009
$304.97
$11.98 (used)
SlavesSlaves
Baroque
$50.79 (used)

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MANTICORE discography


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

2.97 | 14 ratings
Time to Fly
1993
3.89 | 19 ratings
Next Step: Flight 19
2018

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

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

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

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MANTICORE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Next Step: Flight 19 by MANTICORE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 19 ratings

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Next Step: Flight 19
Manticore Symphonic Prog

Review by Second Endeavour

4 stars After twenty four years of absence, Swedish band MANTICORE reborn to unveil a sophomore CD 'Next Step: Flight 19'. This time around, co-founders - Ulf Holmberg (guitar department, keyboards, b/v), Goran Holmberg (vocals, bass courtesy), Putte Saavedra (drums & percussion) - team up with the new singer Jon Sundberg (who also plays acoustic guitar). Together, they've managed to craft an album of relevant quality. Make no doubt, all requisite components are used: the epic constructions and melodic abundance, plenty of diversity and metric shifts, emotional chant accompanied by neat harmonies; tremendous guitars, analog synthesizers and flexible keys, plus efficient rhythmic backbone. These Swedes represent six compositions (including the heritage of giants). The musical journey starts off with a superb instrumental 'Beginnings', which has beautiful changes to keep the listener engaged. Initially, it recalls the echo of 70's Genesis, before morphing into typical Camel-like figures. Next up, the mini-epic titled 'The Answer' is perhaps best described as a combination of AOR trademarks intermingled with symphonic prog attributes. The following piece 'Flight 19' is my absolute favorite on this disk. And it does really grab me! The vocals are endearing to give the music very distinctive warmth, reminding of John Wetton. In some respects, this harkens back to the early King Crimson. On the other side, superlative guitar work conjures up the memories of Steve Hackett while the tapestry of keyboards may evoke Tony Banks. The rhythm section sounds tight and tasty... The rest of material is strikingly different to the prior substances. Firstly, 'Release, Release'. Being a YES composition from 'Tormato' (1978), it highlights the energy and power, embodies the complexity, unusual tricks and beguiling structures. Once again, the vibe changes in penultimate 'Cold Is The Night', which is an ode to John Wetton (composition from his solo album 'Caught In The Crossfire', 1980). Wonderful stuff! The album comes to its close with a tribute to Greg Lake whose original version of 'I Believe In Father Christmas' had been released as the single in November 1975. A lovely ending for the whole affair.. Is there any drawback? Of course, I regret the fact that CD has less than 39 min. duration. And my own personal wish would be for the band to make a bit better package. Even so, 'Next Step: Flight 19' is worth checking out just now.
 Time to Fly by MANTICORE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.97 | 14 ratings

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Time to Fly
Manticore Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars for sure

Manticore, this obscure prog band from Sweden with one album released in 1993, got little recognition , and I don't understand the low ratings either, really. Time to fly is the name of the album from 1993 is a symphonic prog album with all the ingredients to be a good one from start to finish. I like it , without any complains. Imagine a combination of The Flower Kings, Kalaban, IQ or with even Camel or Rick Wakeman here and there. The instrumentation is great, lots of great keyboards, hammond , nice guitars, the bass is aswell present at high level, so why these low ratings, never get it. The vocals are more then ok, not a dull moment. The pieces are long enough and have enough variation to keep the listner conected, lots of instrumental passages, that are sounding really intresting, like Running With The Stars, The maiden, etc. Above all, a very nice gate fold cover that is fiting perfectly in the overall symphonic prog sound. Definetly a keeper for me and easy 3.5 stars, that is meaning above good towards great. Unfairly unnoticed prog album from early '90s prog scene.

 Time to Fly by MANTICORE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.97 | 14 ratings

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Time to Fly
Manticore Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Very interesting swedish band from the early 90´s who released only an album before breaking up. I can understand the low ratings their solo CD Time To Fly got from some reviewers. After all, with such name, everybody (including me) expected some fiery symphonic keyboardss and a sound much closer to ELP then it turned out to be. Ok, the keys are definitly influenced by Keith Emerson, the timbres are amazingly close to what we are used to hear from him. The bassist singing style also reminds me of Greg Lake in some parts. However, that´s as far as similarities go. Manticore´s music is much more ´song´ oriented than ELP, and they are mucfh more rooted on the melodic tradition of Sweden´s musical scene.

Like so many new bands at the time, this CD was very promising. The band shows they had both the chops and the songwriting skills to go very far. They only needed to mature a little to overcome some cliches and develop their obvious talents. Traces of influences of ELP, Yes and Genesis abound, with a more than a nod to Jon Anderson´s band on Running With The Stars (just listen to the guitar solo). Sometimes they remind of another swedish band that did made it, Galleon (fans of that band should check this album). The production is very good for the time and the tracklist is very regular, with no real highlights but also with no fillers either.

It´s a shame they did not have the opportunity to release a follow up and show what they could do with a little more experience.

Rating: 3 stars. Good, but not essential in any way.

 Time to Fly by MANTICORE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.97 | 14 ratings

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Time to Fly
Manticore Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars With such a name, I would have expected some more keyboards fantasy than the one delivered in this album. Actually, the whole is a pure neo-prog affair (most reviews mentioned this), so I don't know why it sits in the symph category.

Sounds remind us of course of the great trio, but without too much enthusiasm I would say ("New Foundation"). This is a true dull opening number: flat and unemotional vocals (but this is consistent throughout the album, unfortunately), average keyboards, weak melody?

But in terms of melody, the listener is not really rewarded while listening to this long album (over sixty minutes). There will be no follow-up to this debut work and I won't complain. This is just basic neo-prog with sub-par vocals; but still some fine keyboard work ("Running With The Stars").

Vocals are dragging the whole down. If only instrumental a track as "Is It All Too Late" would have been quite acceptable, but as it is?gosh!

As one could have expected, "Manticore Theme" is one of the most ELP-ish track from this album. Excellent keys and rhythmic; this track is bombastic (would you believe) and it is by far my fave. It is also all instrumental which is probably the reason I like it better.

Big hopes could be expected with the soft acoustic guitar intro of the epic "The Maiden", but this is really too much cliché for my ears after that. "Manticore" reminds me of a sub- par "Neuschwanstein" (a German band from the seventies who only released one album).

This is not a very intersting work. Just average. Since the half star rating is not available, I'll just downgrade "Time To Fly" to two stars.

 Time to Fly by MANTICORE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.97 | 14 ratings

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Time to Fly
Manticore Symphonic Prog

Review by elourian

3 stars Actually, the truth lies in between. I enjoy the songs, indeed we find some great ideas here, the good english accent doesn't impress me, and if you listen to this album in ignorance -comparing with the great 70's scene- you could say: "Well, it's a nice effort." But since i have listened to all the GREAT acts that renewed the prog scene in the 90's, i realized this album is mediocre actually. I've got many many objections: some keyboards sounds sound poor and ...too much 80's for my taste; the drummer seems to have come out of a power metal band; the first vocalist sings bellow par -indifferent i would say- but the second -excuse me, i don't know which is which- is magnificent, but why didn't they stick to one vocalist? The guitar solos are there, (in "Running with the stars" the guitarist even incorporates a Steve Howe [from Yours Is No Disgrace] solo!) but they luck strength.. To conclude, think of Van Halen (don't like them) going prog... It's true, the whole album doesn't seem to work. It's true, it's not the best way to get into NeoProg (misleading album!) But it is a quite enjoyful album, all songs have good moments, and it it's really worth more tham one listenings, even for historical reasons alone!
 Time to Fly by MANTICORE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.97 | 14 ratings

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Time to Fly
Manticore Symphonic Prog

Review by progadicto

2 stars Not my cup of tea even when I really like many NeoProg music... This album has many great ideas but the music doesn't sound good IMO... Just Manticore Theme and Time to Fly reaches high levels of emotion and very nice prog moments but the other songs sounds... weak.

Maybe it's because the poor work on lyrics; maybe the keys/synths/mellotron solos doesn't work; maybe the lack of guitar solos... I really don't know but the whole album doesn't seems to work. I don't want to dissapoint you, future listenres of this album, but it's not the best way to get into NeoProg...

 Time to Fly by MANTICORE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.97 | 14 ratings

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Time to Fly
Manticore Symphonic Prog

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Now here is a great recording which will appeal to many of the selective listeners out there. This Swedish symphonic act play a richly landscaped style of music and in some ways remind me of a mix of the work of The FLOWER KINGS and JADIS. MANTOCORE's songs are very well written and played with great instrumentation. Their clever choice of instrumentation enables a very full and warm sound with Hammond, Mellotron and magestic Richenbacker accents throughout. Vocals are very well done and are sung effortlessly in English with conviction. This is a wonderfully original sounding album which I would fully recommend.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to H.T Riekels for the last updates

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