Reviews : Albums : Mandrake, "Mandrake"

Mandrake, "Mandrake"
2002, Demo
Mandrake, "Mandrake"

First, I am going to begin by saying that all I got with this CD was the logo and the song titles, so any information about those involved will not be in the review since I know nothing myself. The only surface impression that I could glean was that they might be black metal, because it took me five minutes to figure out that the logo said "Mandrake." So, having little to go on, I just popped this sucker into the CD player, and listened away. I was rather surprised by what I heard...

Actually, this was six songs of what I could call power death metal, since it lives in both realms quite a bit, with neither one being dominant. The vocals on here remind me much of Kelly Shaeffer of Atheist, and there is a great deal of twin guitar play on here, reminiscent of Iron Maiden. There is also some very agressive deathmetal riffing, especially during the song Here to Eternity. The guitarists are very skilled, though not so overly technical that the CD becomes a collection of solos instead of a collection of songs. The one thing I really like is that while they do use keyboards, they seem to have figured out how to use them to supplement the music, not overpower it. I've heard bands who have been struggling with this for years who never seem to keep they keyboards from subtracting from the enjoyment of the album. The drumming on here is also very good, I have to admit, they get a good drum sound going. While the drummer isn't Pete Sandoval, he is quite good and knows when to play, not just how to play, which is just as important, if not moreso. There is also some interesting use of what seem to be bongo drums on here, though perhaps my hearing is just shot. The tribal drums kind of remind me of later Sepultura, but while they were still good.

The only real problem I had with this album was the final part, Outro Terminar. This consists of four minutes of keyboard work, a minute of silence and two minutes of acoustic guitar, which to me was kind of a dull way to end what was an otherwise interesting album. This part seemed more like two intros with a minute of silence between them, which kind of derailed the momentum this album had.

That said, everything up to the end is rather enjoyable.

Standout Tracks

   Summon the Krakken
   Night of Day
   Here to Eternity