Blackened Thrash Metal has become one of Thrash’s more popular hybrids over recent years. With bands such as Toxic Holocaust, Skeletonwitch, Aura Noir and Witchery bringing it to prominence in the 2000’s, it has slowly influenced many bands to carry on in a similar vein. The UK has recently started to become a hotbed for this style of music, with Hellripper flying the flag high for Black/Thrash, and Devastator, Hellfekted and Night Fighter all coming out swinging with incredible releases lately. This trend has been taken worldwide, with one-man side project Green Mantis jumping on the Black/Thrash Express to riff town. The brainchild of Rodo Insaniac (Acidez), Green Mantis are keen to whip you out of shape with a flurry of sharp riffs and howling snarls. Rodo is responsible for all the instrumentation but his friend Pentagramator (Terrörhammer) is here to provide vocal prowess. So, can Mexico and Siberia Thrash as hard as their contemporaries? Let’s get to the riffs and find out!
The E.P Starts with the title track. It’s explosive, starting with a catchy but powerful Blackened Thrash riff. As with a lot of these bands, the key influences of Venom, Bathory, Motörhead,early Slayer and early Sodom can all be heard. The song crushes with fast paced riffs and a mid-tempo middle section that will please any headbanger in search of a neck-brace. The drums provide plenty of back bone, the bass is disgustingly dirty and there’s a shorty but brilliant piece of shred work for lead playing enthusiasts. The simplistic chorus will become an earworm that bores deeper into your brain the more you hear it, and the vocals do a decent job. They’re mostly one note but the occasional use of high shrieks works well. It’s a bombastic start and let’s the listener know exactly what they’re getting.
Die Human Die follows the same idea, with the energy sucking you in like a whirlpool of blackened blasphemy. The chorus has a punk feel to it and is one again simplistic, making it stick in your brain for hours on end. There’s some brilliant double bass footwork, with a more technical and prog focused middle section that contrasts well with the simple nature of the music. Another shredfest for the diehard axe men out there pleases the others, adding a touch of additional spice to an already tasty enchilada of Thrash excellence. It’s short, packs a punch and hits the sweet spot for every Thrasher to enjoy.
The third track keeps (This War Goes On) the momentum going, whipping up a frenzy from the offset. The riffs are sharper than a razor, cutting deep into the listener and leaving them feeling a little degraded in the process. The mid-paced chorus with a short lead provides excellent contrast against the speed and fury conjured by the verse riff. If the previous two tracks haven’t left you with long-term whiplash then this song certainly will. Lyrically it’s a bit on the silly side but this is clearly meant to be fun Thrash. It wants you to mosh in your room and summon a pizza dude whilst downing a few beers. Who doesn’t want to do that?
Deadliest Poison starts off with a dark intro, power chords and atmospheric lead work leading into another blizzard of ravaging Thrash. The riffs hit with the force of an avalanche, with the darker atmosphere of the song suffocating the listener. It’s a stark contrast to the fun vibes of the previous track but it’s a strength for the song. It leaves you feeling beaten, battered and torn. The song is short, at just over 3 minutes in length, making the punishment more impactful. The middle section is another whiplash-inducer, providing some devastating riffs that could level entire cities.
The final track, Diabolical, is the longest that is nearly 5 minutes in length. The first minute or so is made up of atmospheric synths, burning fires and rolling thunder. The song takes a turn and ups the ante, with one of my favourite riffs form the E.P. The verse leaves you in the dust, with the chorus taking no prisoners, using more traditional Black Metal tremolo picked riffs and a furious barrage of double bass drumming. The middle section slows the pace, opting to smash the listener in the face like a ten ton hammer. It’s a destructive affair, that makes sure to end with a bang. The riffs are catchy and fun, and will certainly make every Thrasher grimace with joy. It certainly doesn’t feel 5 minutes in length, being a suitably excellent way to end the E.P.
Green Mantis have proven that they can provide Blackened Thrash of the highest order. It may not be the most unique or original piece of music, but if you love the modern-day bands leading the charge such as Hellripper, Evoke or Devastator then this will hit that spot and then some. I’m a big fan of this style of Thrash, it’s got an energy that just keeps constantly excited and this E.P does the same. The riffs are fun, sharp and will either cause you to destroy your room in a one-man wall of death or destroy your neck through intense headbanging. Rodo has a real knack for this type of music, with spectacular performances across the board from him. He knows what he wants to do, and he does it very well, creating a thoroughly enjoyable experience that gets better with each listen (and you will definitely want to hit the repeat button once this is over!). Pentagramator does a decent job on the vocals. They’re nothing you haven’t already heard but the suit the music well and you can tell that they’re having fun, something that I feel shines through in the performance. My main complaint is that I wish they used the higher range more often as that is what really sticks out on the vocals point. They’re well executed, just not as frequently used as I would like.
The production is also worthy of note. It has an old school DIY fell to it, with gritty guitars, overdriven Bass and pounding drums all complimenting each other. Nothing really stands out as the main focus, instead opting for everything to work in harmony. Everything is easy to hear but it has that old school sound that I know will please a lot of old school diehards. To conclude, Green Mantis aren’t reinventing the wheel any time soon, but they don’t want to. They want to conjure a storm of fun and infect you with their Black Metal infused Thrash excellence that has plenty of DIY Punk attitude to boot. If you love Blackened Thrash, Black/Speed or whatever you wish to refer to it as, then this release is perfect for you. I personally can not wait to hear more from them, and if it’s anywhere near as good as this, then we’re in for a real treat in the future!
Kill the Plague was released on December 3, 2020 find it on BandCamp