And the metalcore waves keep crashing down upon us all. Luckily, MANNTIS' "Sleep in your Grave" makes two quality metalcore releases in a row for me, the other being LIFE IN PICTURES' "By the Sign of the Spyglass". Rather than being a boundary-pusher of sorts (like the latter release), "Sleep in your Grave" is effective because it gets to the point quickly and leaves a scar (28 minutes, 11 tracks). The songs possess just enough melody to keep your interest, but not so much that the fire is doused. The immediate impact of these tracks is the secret ingredient, providing you a fast blast of solid metalcore that doesn't result in yawns three-quarters of the way through. No filler and no needless farting around always help the effort. By the way, MANNTIS' claim to fame is its appearance on MTV's "Battle for Ozzfest" program and tour. Bully for MANNTIS, but it doesn't sway my opinion of the band one way or the other. Sorry, guess I don't care.
I dig the sound of this album, too. A caustic guitar tone and a natural drum sound provides a sharp edge to 10 of the 11 tracks (the two-minute acoustic closer "The Ends Where it Begins" isn't bad, but doesn't add much either). Jake Daniel's abrasive vocals fit well to the tunes, in some respects coming off like a cross between Brian Fair (SHADOWS FALL) and Trevor Phipps (UNEARTH). The sparing use of clean vocals and/or spoken word parts (e.g. "Approach", "Reflections of You", "A New Breed of Lie", and "Second Life Ahead") never sound whiny and finish up quickly. The pace is usually up-tempo and in your face, the breakdowns well placed and effective, and the odd guitar solo quite ripping. Daniel unleashes blood-curdling screams on "Approach" and "My Enemy" that give the tunes an extra kick. Guitar harmonies are used frequently, adding melody while retaining the rough-edged sound. Lots of chunky parts, the occasional discordant guitar scream, and a generally robust attack make the experience even more appealing. Metal, hardcore, or whatever, "Sleep in your Grave" has got a lot of fight in it. The songwriting ain't too shabby either.