METAL / Nigro Mantia

Poetry of Subculture-NIGRO MANTIA-1984


It is interesting to dig deeper into the dark vaults of metal culture and find fragments which redefine this kind of music. One of them isnigromantia_cover Demilich’s Nespithe, which I have already written about. The emotions aroused by that landmark collection was unconventional for metal, to say the least, in a very bland manner. This album, (actually it is just what was known as a short EP before the mp3 era) by an unknown band from Denmark who disappeared from the face of this earth after releasing this, is another obscure landmark, aptly titled “Poetry of Subculture”. If we just had to talk about the stylistic conventions used, I could easily point out Mercyful Fate as an influence, except for the fact that that much more famous band was a contemporary.

The frenetic pace of the riffs, the gallop of the rhythm section, the occasional bass fills to flesh out the main riff, is nothing that most metal connoisseurs wouldn’t have heard before, but the way in which these genre conventions have been used to create one of the best metal albums I have ever heard is amazing. The music eschews the militaristic march of speed metal, the anarchy and lawlessness of True Norwegian Black Metal or the brutality of death metal. There is harshness and abrasiveness here but somehow, and I cannot put my finger on it, the whole is more than the sum of the parts. The whole is a stately virgin beauty the kind you see on the Himalayan slopes or the coral reefs of the Pacific. All of this is supported by a superb vocal performance that has to be heard, by a man who sounds to be soothsayer reading out William Blake (the godfather of metal lyricism).

They spit on your mouth and never deign to come down to the level of mere mortals, the counting crumbs, obsessed with trivialities. The best part is that you can bang your head to some portions in a gentle, intense introspective manner. Some music is beyond hooks, and blatant sentimentality, and its that which sticks because in this swirling chaos, you need a beacon of immortality which reminds us  of the true nature of our ant-like, modern existence. It reminds us that puny moments are all we have, and life can just be reduced to an “exploding orgasm”. Now run off and listen to pop music like Opeth, you fools.

Baba T

PS – I have to thank the awesome blogs, “Poetry of Subculture” for bringing this to my notice, and to “Good Bad Music for Bad, Bad Times” for supplying the rip of the original cassette. I suggest that all of you treat yourselves to this piece of immortal greatness.

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3 thoughts on “Poetry of Subculture-NIGRO MANTIA-1984

  1. Thanks for you kind words. Nice to know NMs music still touches people. The demo was made when bandmembers were between 17 and 18 years old… Timw flies :-). Best regards Jes

    • It humbles me to know that 18 year old kids could make this kind of music. It must be a freak of nature. Thank you so much for commenting on the post. Nice drumming, btw.

      -Baba T

      PS- In case readers don’t know, Mr Jes Egeskov was the drummer on the above album.

    • Just found this old gem on mp3. I remember listening to a tapetrade version it countless times on my walkman back in the late 80s. One of the best demos ever released!

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