MANTRA are a prog metal band from France. They are due to release their third studio album Medium; which is a really interesting concept album about Body and Mind.
This album really struck me to start with as it only has three tracks, however each track is exactly seventeen minutes and seven seconds long. The tracks are Body, Mind and finally Medium. The title track is the creation of tracks one and two combined; “the harmony of the body and the mind”.
This was such an interesting concept to me and it had me hooked. Although I struggle with a whole album of very long songs; this was no longer than an average album, so it was really easy to listen through.
Firstly I have to commend the band on combining so many genres and styles within the tracks. What I love about prog metal is how experimental it can be and that it never fits into one box or category. It always surprises you as you never know what comes next. As I started track one, I had no idea what to expect or what was really going on, but by 5 minutes in I was in a whole new genre and I was totally into it. The heavier parts reminded me strongly of TOOL, there is a brief ten to fifteen second interlude in each song of clean guitar and harmonised voices thatmade me think of WARDRUNA vocals. The softer parts of the songs had a lounge music or soft jazz vibe, the vocal stylising is similar to SONIC YOUTH covering THE CARPENTERS – Superstar (very specific reference, I know) as well as hints of MUSE and other artists.
Each song is similar but not identical. There are parts which carry across all three tracks, including the aforementioned ten second harmonised vocals and the last three – four minutes of each song remaining the same. A lot of the various guitar lines stay the same but in different orders and some of the lyrics carry over as well.
This is really interesting to me as it goes with their story of Body, Mind, whether one can be without the other and whether the mind can carry on without the body through spirituality. The songs being so intertwining plays to the theme that one helps make the other what it is and vice versa. Together they are one and the same.
I actually really enjoyed the album, although it’s not one I would listen to over and over as the songs do remain so similar to each other, so there’s no need. It’s an interesting development from their previous album Laniakea which maintains an overall heavier theme, but I like what they’ve done and how they’ve experimented.
Words: Amanda Nicholls
Medium will be out tomorrow via Finisterian Dead End.