Quite a little surprise we have here with MENCEA fro Greece. Never heard of them before, which is not really surprising considering the fact that this is their debut album. The promo sheet promises, as always, the next big thing and draws comparison to MESHUGGAH and OPETH; which is, as always, not quite true. Though OPETH are not that far away, maybe. MENCEA have, not unlike the aforementioned, a solid musical base of Melodic Death/ Thrash Metal which in itself would not overly excite me and would surely not compel me to write about it.
But the devil lurks in details. Already the opener has a hint of what defines MENCEA, what makes them stand out of the faceless masses of Melodic Death/ Thrash. Subliminal use of synths add a certain weirdness to “The Passing”, and these melodic duets with the guitars shall provide more stand-out moments during the rotation of the album. Thus, “Deep In The Under” invokes a lurking feel of deep-space oddities; I don’t know what the lyrics are about but musically MENCEA sound a bit out in space with their harmonies and disharmonies. Not quite as mean as ABIGOR, more in a Hollywood- kind of space-adventure. If CRONIAN (reviewed here not long ago) are the rebels, then MENCEA are the Dark Side Of The Force.
“Forbidden” loses some sympathies. I said before that the promo-sheet comparisons are not really fitting, but here MENCEA steal so obvious from OPETH that I just have to draw points for that. Luckily for them it is only one part. And “Curse The Damned” has me well back in good mood, with outerworldish harmonies, thrashy guitar-shredding and finally some different vocal work.
MENCEA manage to leave an overall positive impression. Weird synth/guitar duets is what I see their strength in and where they play their cards well, and this is what sets them avant the rest. I hope to hear more of this on the next album. Furthermore we have some sound experiments; a high technical, skilful standard; straight patterns, not-so-straight patterns and nearly math-patterns; interesting ideas and the right level of brutality. The only downside is that the vocalist does not follow their diversity with being your 08/15 Thrash barker. Concerning music, Greece has disqualified itself in my eyes due to its output of countless underground NSBM-shit albums over the last few years (okay, there were still ROTTING CHRIST and SEPTIC FLESH, but what else?). MENCEA put Greece back on my Metal-map with a more than convincing album.
01 – The Passing
02 – Ardad
03 – Forbidden
04 – Deep In The Under
05 – The Holy Cast
06 – Eminence
07 – Curse The Damned
08 – When Strife And Greed Collide