The two Larsens formed the band in 1996 as Manticore following the split of Fear Itself. Adding Rene Nielsen on bass and Mads Volf on drums, the band recorded and released a 1997 demo called Dead End Solution. This demo was first issued as Manticore and later using the Manticora monicker. The group signed with Intromental Management and obtained a deal in Greece with Black Lotus Records. The group added a second guitarist and a keyboardist and in 2000 moved its label base to Italy’s Scarlet Records. Bassist Nielsen left in 2001. Schultz left in 2002. The group did not shed any tears and played at the Sweden Rock festival in 2002. The Hyperion album was inspired by the book The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. A tour later, the band issued another concept album before extending the notion into a two-album concept narrating the story of a medieval circus touring Europe. The band had its first US touchdown in 2005 at ProgPower Festival in Atlanta. Manticora was due to tour the USA at the beginning of 2008 with Circus Maximus and Circle II Circle before having to cancel due to the withdrawal of the headliners. Manticora played 2009’s Progpower Scandinavia Festival at Vega in Copenhagen on September 26th. Other bands appearing were Candlemass and Pretty Maids.
Manticora completed work on its seventh full-length album, Safe, at Jailhouse Studios in Horsens, Denmark in the middle of 2010. The album was again produced and mixed by Tommy Hansen. The band was touring Europe that autumn. Denmark-based Manticora signed a deal with ViciSolum Records in 2017 and would release two concept albums on the label. The concept was based on singer Lars F. Larsen horror work.
MANTICORA - 8 DEADLY SINS - NIGHTMARE
To be frank, albums like Manticora's 8 Deadly Sins have become a dime a dozen. There is nothing in this Danish band's delivery that makes them worse than their counterparts, but the combination of power metal with the commercialism of background keyboards has just been done to death. To its credit, the quartet is heavier than average with songs like Melancholic and Creator Of Failure borderline thrashing. It is not enough to make one forget the harmonic singing, synthesizers and prevalent melody. Fall From Grace and Enigma, for instance, are just too commercial to be worthwhile to a heavy metal fan.
The album is a concept narrating the story of a dying man in his death bed with the songs cleverly beginning in 1934 and ending in 2004. Again, Manticora is OK as far as bands in the sub-genre go and should be a fine purchase for fans of Blind Guardian. The scene is overcrowded with too many bands, labels and yes-men media to the point of saturation. - Ali "The Metallian"