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Mantas - 1988 Winds Of Change



ARTIST: Mantas
ALBUM: Winds Of Change
LABEL: Neat
SERIAL: NEAT 1042
YEAR: 1988

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Mantas - guitars, keyboards, bass * Pete Harrison - vocals * Al Barnes - guitars * Mark Savage - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Let It Rock * 02 Deceiver * 03 Hurricane * 04 King Of The Ring * 05 Western Days * 06 Winds Of Change * 07 Desperado * 08 Nowhere To Run * 09 Sayonara


Background
Jeff 'Mantas' Dunn will always be known as the original guitarist for Venom, pioneering riffs for many a thrash and black metal band for decades to come, but after leaving the notorious trio in 1986 Mantas set about changing his image, both musically and in appearance. Venom fans hoping for another thrash onslaught must have been bewildered by this about face, an accomplished melodic rock excursion with the emphasis on keyboards and AOR structures. Mantas wanted to prove his depth as a musician allegedly, focusing on melody while on the back cover looking like the newest member of Def Leppard, with his perm, long flowing leather coat, ripped jeans and cut off t-shirt. Way to go in my opinion.


The Songs
This album is a hidden gem for any lovers of AOR and pomp in general, giving Magnum more than a run for their money. 'Let It Rock' sees Mantas chugging away with some galloping riffs with some pumping keys in the background. Harrison is indeed from the FM and Airrace school of vocals, well suited to this form of rock. Mantas' guitar solo is a copy of Judas Priest's 'Heading Out To The Highway', but the huge chorus offsets this. The keyboard opening of 'Deceiver' is lush to say the least, overwhelming everything else and massive in their pomp overtones. Great track with purpose in every note. Mantas gets a chance to flex his muscle on the instrumental 'Hurricane', soloing away in manic fashion before the pounding 'King Of The Ring' lays down some pretty ferocious synth laden metal. 'Western Days' continues this heavier approach, Mantas emphasising his dominance through the guitar work, louder than everything else in the mix. Yet another instrumental meant to display Mantas' dexterity appears in the shape of 'Desperado' and is quite impressive, a masterclass of guitar melody. The huge AOR of 'Nowhere To Run' is up there with FM themselves, a dead ringer in fact, with shades of Black Rose and Virginia Wolf. Mantas pulls this off so easily you'd swear he had been doing it his whole career. Another instrumental closes the album, 'Sayonara' an atmospheric piece that might have been culled off a Gary Moore album of the time.


In Summary
Quite an impressive romp and one which promised much but ended when Mantas rejoined a revamped Venom a year later. That lasted until 2002 when he left the band for the last time it seems, concentrating once again on his solo career and a gym he runs in Newcastle. Many hardcore Venom fans mock this album to this day but they must be of the one dimensional sort, not understanding AOR as you might expect, unlike those with more scope to their tastes like many of us here at Glory Daze! I'd suggest any disbelievers to check this out without haste, British melodic rock at its finest.


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on February 24 2009 00:53:14
I am reminded of fellow UK rockers GRIM REAPER when listening to this, though this (amazingly) has more keyboards. Gosh, I wonder what hardcore VENOM fans thought of this! Haha! The singer Pete Harrison is pretty good!
#2 | Enigma on February 27 2009 09:32:26
Yeah. Not seen this album for years. My bro is the vocalist on this strange album.
#3 | jeffduran on February 27 2009 12:30:15
Venom actually tried some other AOR around this time. Remember this but not surprised as they were tryig diff sounds in late 80's. good review!
 
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