Don't believe the hype
There's a lot of talk about Century Media Records' latest signing Manntis (Named after the number of praying mantises that habitat the band's practice space), but I can almost guarantee you that the vast majority of it isn't about their debut album. For those not in the know (Or don't have access to cable television), Manntis was one of the numerous acts that were competing for the much coveted slot on the tenth anniversary (2005) tour of Ozzfest on the MTV's reality show The Battle For Ozzfest (As well as for other prizes such as band equipment and a label deal) of 2004. Although coming in at third place (With A Dozen Furies and Cynder (Who are now known as Curse Your Name) taking out first and second place respectively), the five-piece act from Riverside (California) quickly scored a deal with Century Media Records, with Sleep In Your Grave their first offering after the highly publicised metal equivalent to American Idol.
To put it simple terms, Manntis are just another metalcore act (Sounding closest to what Shadows Fall are doing), with their debut neither exceptionally brilliant, nor incredibly bad compared to the thousands of similar albums that were released both this year (And for the better part of 2004, when metalcore really started to take off).
The opening attack of Axe Of Redemption (The first video clip filmed from the album) mines the familiar influences that are commonly associated with the metalcore sound (The Swedish melodic death metal movement, especially with the twin lead guitar attack from (Lead) Adair Cobley and (Rhythm) Jeremy Swanson), while vocalist Jake Sirokman (Also known as Jake Daniels) blends the mix of metallic aggression with a subtle hint of hardcore in his delivery. The tracks Shades Of Hatred, Weathered Soul and Reflection's Of You manage to incorporate a little more melody (In both the vocal and the clean guitar components) into the mix, while A New Breed Of Life, Second Life Ahead and Resist And Overcome are straight ahead metalcore standards.
The only real track that diverts from the norm is the acoustic The Ends Where It Begins, and while interesting, it tends to be a little misplaced when compared to the rest of the album.
Over the course of just under the half hour mark, Sleep In Your Grave is if anything decent, but hardly new or original sounding. Just what separates Manntis from the faceless others in the scene, apart from the Ozzfest notoriety, is really beyond me.
(Century Media Records/Shock Records Distribution)