Track By Tracks: Mantic Ritual - Heart Set Stone (2022)

1. Life as Usual:

This is the only new track, of roughly 15, that is from the early days. I wrote this song in 2008 just before leaving the band. I’ve reworked the lyrics a little bit, but it’s otherwise the same. Carlos learned Adam’s drum tracks note for note, which is rad, because Adam had a very cool approach. Jeff’s lead is new and it’s incredible. Back in the day, there was no doubt Jeff could shred, but he’s matured a lot and this might be my favorite solo he’s ever written. Anyway, it’s a ripper. Fastest Mantic tempo yet, and some of my favorite lyrics.

2. Crusader:

Not much to say here that hasn’t already been said. If you’re familiar with the new material, this song has been beaten into your head (hopefully?) by now. It’s only living here and on the 7in, so eat it up. Most of my songs aren’t directly inspired by something else, but jeff’s middle lead section is a take on Zappa’s Sinister Footwear II, and while this pales in comparison to Frank, I still think it’s a pretty cool addition to our sound.

3. Heart Set Stone:

Taking a step back to the Executioner album with a longer track. Even riff and structure-wise, it’s harkening back in my estimation. This is a subtle heavy metal theme, the gist being, that you see the world for what it is: a pile of shit, so you hunker down and find yourself, find what you are and where you belong, and you emerge ready to settle your debts and get what’s yours, hardened to the bullshit. And this is the beauty of heavy metal right here, I love empowering themes. There are many takes on this life, but no matter the path, truly knowing yourself is everything.

4. Race Against Time:

I felt it was about time to give recognition to our punk roots and I found this song fitting; we’re back after many years away. Most bands are destined to die before long and somehow we’ve resurrected this. “New ideas/same old head” fits this endeavor perfectly. But really, what is there to say? This is just fun. Feels right. NEXT!!!

5. Black Funeral:

Another one that is already out on the 7in. And I’ve said it a few times, but this is a perfect heavy metal track. Leads at the end just take the cake. Early on, I remember telling Carlos that I love roto-toms and was stoked as hell that we could recreate this. Carlos is a precision machine, and really adds to the authenticity here. And I hope people recognize how excellent the bass is in Mercyful Fate. Ben nails it all (and adds a little more). As for the vocals, I’m a much better singer than I was years ago. Making this happen took work, but it was pretty natural. My only regret is that it’s missing the vocal harmonies. I can go high, but not that high!

6. Cross Me Fool:

To this day, the thought of “Canadian thrash” excites me like a trip to old growth forest or a smoky campfire. I cannot explain this, but these are good connotations. I’m not a Razor worshiper, but I definitely recognize their authority in the world of thrash metal. No Big Four sellout bullshit. Regardless of what you think of the music, Razor really stuck to their guns. And Cross Me Fool? A great example of what happens when everything clicks into place. It’s a rad song. Great lyrics. Vengeful, like how you feel after a drive to Prince George to play for 50 kids in a frigid skating rink, and you try to walk ½ a mile to a Subway to take a shit and get food because you’re starving, but it’s below zero and the wind literally sucks the air out of your lungs so you have to turn around. You gotta know this and more, to write a song like Cross Me Fool.

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