Manticora – To Live To Kill To Live

To Live To Kill To Live
ViciSolum Records
August 28, 2020

Author: Erich Robbers (Rockcastle Franken)
Co-Editor: Rainer Kerber

The original plan was to set the horror novella by singer Lars F. Larsen to music in two albums within one year. Well, the first album of this concept (“To Kill To Live To Kill“) was released in August 2018. So, it took the Danes Manticora two years to musically bring the story to an end. But that’s not surprising, when you know how complex and mature the music of the Danes is. Even the first part was extraordinarily complex and well thought out, so that this could be expected from the continuation. A timeframe too tight would probably have been a half-baked affair and not worthy of the concept.

So Manticora did everything right, took their time and with “To Live To Kill To Live” they put an at least equal finale to the side. Overall, it is the band’s ninth album and, as a two-parter, belongs to the best that has ever been released. Manticora don’t make it that easy for the listener on this album either. So, against any rule, you enter the album with a 14-minute mammoth song. But this “Katana – The Moths and The Dragonflies / Katana – Mud” immediately shows the undisputed class of the individual musicians.

Lars F. Larsen still sings like a heavier variant of Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kürsch and, like his singing, takes getting used to, especially in quieter and higher passages. Either you love it or you don’t, in any case the voice again fits perfectly with the sometimes violent ProgMetal of the Danes. In general, one has the impression that Manticora  go a little way back to the early days, when one showed a higher degree of heaviness. This goes up to the occasional barking shout or growl. Musically, too, a lot of dynamics and ProgMetal riff power run into most of the songs. Far from the usual standards, the two guitarists Kristian Larsen and Stefan Johansson do a brilliant job and shine with fantastic interplay and variable power chords.

The longtrack as the opener shows what Manticora stand for and what to expect in the course of the album. Once you have digested this opening monster, you first bring the audience back down emotionally with the shallow, Far Eastern instrumental “To Nanjing”. Such short interludes are always woven again by the band, in order to emphasize the story aspect, but also the tension that is created during the album listening, not to demolish only.

If you are still overwhelmed by the extreme dynamics and force of individual passages when you first listen to songs like “Slaughter In The Desert Room”, “Ten Thousand Cold Nights” or “Through The Eyes Of The Killer – Filling Teeth”, new ones reveal themselves with every new one through new and complex details. So “To Live To Kill To Live” is an album that grows with every new listen and the two parts that belong together have what it takes to become the upcoming ProgMetal classic.

In addition to modern guitar riffs, all of sudden bombastic refrains explode, then in turn irresistible breaks testify to a brief calm atmosphere before the force and violence of the Manticora outbursts knock you down. No, this album is not intended for the average consumer and for side listening. It is a testimony to how you can make modern, sometimes very heavy metal music exciting and interesting. An album that many ProgMetal bands can take as an example.

There is no need to discuss the production that Jacob Hansen once again controlled. The sound is simply brilliant and the artwork by David Troest leaves nothing to be desired. “To Live To Kill To Live” brings the two-part story by Lars F. Larsen, whose novella has also been available for purchase since 2018, to an ingenious end and without a doubt catapults Manticora to the top of the most expressive and relevant ProgMetal acts currently. Must have !!

Manticora – The Farmer’s Tale, Pt. 3 – Eaten by the Beasts:


Kristian Larsen – Guitars
Lars F. Larsen – Vocals
Stefan Johansson – Guitars
Kasper Gram – Bass
Lawrence Dinamarca – Drums

Track list:

  • Katana – The Moths and The Dragonflies/Katana – Mud
  • To Nanjing
  • The Farmer’s Tale, Pt. 3 – Eaten By The Beasts
  • Slaughter In The Desert Room
  • Through The Eyes Of The Killer – Filing Teeth
  • Katana – Death Of The Meaning Of Life
  • Tasered/Ice Cage
  • Goodbye Tina
  • Tasered/Removal
  • Stalin Strikes (instrumental)
  • Ten Thousand Cold Nights
  • Katana – Beheaded
  • 9/10
    Album - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Cover Art - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Song Writing - 9/10