All the fellow readers of this webzine are aware of the fact that the Maryland area is one of my favourite spots on this planet, when it comes to virtous authentic doom-laden heavy rock.And every band that comes out of MD is very special in their own way. From the progessive influenced heaviness of Unorthodox to the bluesy merciless heaviness of Internal Void and so on, no band sounds like the other. And the same goes for the four-piece BLACK MANTA. After several demo releases in the last eight years, this is their latest one from 2001. First off, this is more than just a "simple" demo. Produced in the legendary Hit & Run Studios (Unorthodox, Wretched, etc) it offers eight brutal bulldozing ultra-heavy tracks with a total running time of nearly 46 minutes and so it's a more like a full-length album with a fine sound than just one of those worse demos. Most of the tracks are real killers as the fast "Rush", the aggressive "Space Ape" or the mighty "Monolith" and so on.

The average songs are still much better than most of today's heavy rock stereotypes. But what is so special about BLACK MANTA.? Aside of the bone-crushing heaviness it's the awesome rough voice of singer Skull and this morbid sinister Lovecraft-vibe that shines through all songs. And these guys have enough variety in all songs. They know how to ROCK(!) and to groove, without becoming to cheesy, there are inspiring tempo changes and they are showing the world their huge middle finger. Last news about the MANTA is, that skinsman Joe Hasselvander (ex-Raven/Pentagram-Death Row) is now part of the line-up and they are ready to conquer the world. And once again I've got to ask myself why these ambitious and original band got no record-deal. They are much better than 80 percent of today's "stoner" (what is this?) crap. Do yourself a favour and order this brilliant album directly from the band's website or from Black Tears.