Forget the VENOM past, the new solo album of the ex-guitarist of this Metal legend doesn’t have anything at all to do with this time anymore and that’s really good this way. Mantas and his companions want to be evil all the way through nonetheless, the sinister design of the booklet complete with the evil photos of the grim looking actors wants to make you think so anyways.
Well, you must not be overwhelmed by the first impression, the sound of MANTAS is powerful and thick (the production kicks some serious ass), but it doesn’t really spread fear at any time. As regards the structure and the simplicity of the compositions, you could almost use the old school Death Metal outfit MASTER as a reference. The electronic effects that appear time and again and the slight Industrial touch allow this comparison with restrictions only though. MANTAS exaggerate a bit to my taste, and songs such as “Zero Tolerance”, “Rage”, “Drill” or “Kill It” are quite nice, but somewhat artificial and predictable as regards their brutality. With “Look Who Died” slight Rock leanings can be recognized, but even this does not make “Zero Tolerance” more varied or entertaining.
Don’t get me wrong, the work in question is not bad in any way, though time and again you feel that somewhat more could have been done and that they tried to sound contemporary and up to date at any cost. What does not affect the rating at all here is the fact that you put more expectations in a solo disc by MANTAS because of his illustrious past with VENOM. Not at all, because as for the musicianship the good man has surely evolved a lot, nevertheless “Zero Tolerance” lacks the final bit of persuasive power. Rushing through “Stone Cold” at full speed or scratching the modern Metal wall with a fat groove on “Original Sin” doesn’t help either.
Unfortunately real surprises don’t come and the last three remaining tracks of the album don’t turn the tables either and thus “Zero Tolerance” chucks slowly but unstoppably into the port of quickly forgotten releases in the year of 2004. It’s a pity, but unfortunately that doesn’t help! (Online February 14, 2005)