Band: Mantas
Title: Death By Metal
Label: Relapse Records
Distribution: Rough Trade Benelux – Tone Entertainment
Release date: June 19th (North America), June 22nd (Benelux and Germany), June 25th 2012 (rest of Europe, rest of the Death-Earth)
Review: CD (re-release / compilation)


Isn’t it a nice intro to start this review? At least it’s a righteous one, because, well, just because.

Mantas are pre-Death, that’s why.

Without them, Death Metal wouldn’t be what it is right now, and so on, and so on…

And now for real… After re-releasing almost all Death-material, Relapse decided to put the cult-classic demo Death By Metal on CD as well. Originally, this stuff came out on tape in September 1984, indeed on cassette back then, and it was a milestone for the future of Extreme Music. I can write a one hundred-page essay filled with melancholy and origin-honouring grandeur, but I won’t do it right now – those who were ‘into’ the scene as from the very beginning know what I mean; the youngsters might know, or have to check out. Anyway, this demo came as a pyroclastic whirlwind, a devastating thunderstorm onto Mater Metalica, and some Mantas-stuff made it to later Death-recordings, holding the seed of Classics with a timeless character. The stuff was originally recorded by three of the most famous Extreme Metal artist within the international Metal history: Chuck Schuldiner, Kam Lee and Rick Rozz, and none of them need any further introduction, do they? [And together with Possessed and Slayer, Mantas were the best thing the US stood for, musically, during the first part of the eighties (personal opinion). - ivan]

This re-release comes in several versions; not only on ‘CD versus LP’, yet also within a limited (1000 copies) double-disc edition, which features some additional rehearsal recordings (one of the many done that very same year, that dwell around the World), as well as a live-registration of the band’s performance on September 1st 1984 at Knights Of Columbus Hall in Orlando, Florida.

The one-disc edition (disc # 1 for the double-release) consists of the original and a rehearsing version of the legendary Death By Metal demo, and five tracks from the band’s untitled and unofficial third rehearsal. And of course this brings us to the sound. IT SUCKS! But as mentioned before: this is KULT, so the digitalisation of Origin and Tradition, the seed of Evil, minimalizes narrow-minded frustration about sound, not? Yet I do wonder why there did not seem to exist any possibility to clean the original master tapes up as were it for just a little. Yet again, it’s nit-picking on nothing.


Ivan Tibos.