If you have read my review of MANTICORE’s "Ritual Cleansing Of The Whore" MCD / LP you should know that this blasphemous bunch from Ohio plays a vicious mix of BEHERIT, INCANTATION and PROFANATICA. So if you like it evil and I mean really evil – MANTICORE should be the right thing for you. In the September of 2002 I saw them live in a small Irish Pub in Giessen with the unholy hordes BLACK WITCHERY, ARMAGEDDA and AVENGER. MANTICORE’s intense gig convinced me to contact Lou (alias Ixitichitl / bass, backing growls) to talk about this tour, their fantastic debut release and the strange behaviour of their vocalist…

Before I saw MANTICORE live with Black Witchery, Armagedda and Avenger in Giessen (Germany) this year, I had not heard anything about you, is MANTICORE still a very young act? Please sum up your band biography and tell me who plays in this blasphemous horde!!!
“MANTICORE was formed in August 2000, me (Ixitichitl – bass / backing vocals) and Satanael (guitar / vocals) had this vision since 96, but never had the time to get anything together. Some changes in our previous bands made it possible to finally get together 2 years ago to write the demo, and then we found the Maggot Wrangler (drums) and everything came together from there."

How would you describe MANTICORE’s sound? It is quite an unusual mix to me! Very sinister, brutal and downtuned Death Metal like INCANTATION meets Black Metal-like vocals and blasphemous atmosphere, that reminds of BEHERIT or DEMONCY, would you agree? In what category would you put MANTICORE?
“You actually described it pretty well there for us. I agree we have elements of Black and Death Metal, as they both have influenced us over the years. We don’t care to pick a category to be put into, we just play ugly, blasphemous Metal.”

How did you like performing in Giessen. I was absolutely crushed by all bands, but my highlights were MANTICORE and Armagedda. Even your short soundcheck was fucking killer!!! Did you talk to some of the people? Did anything special happen before or after the gig you might tell me?
“Giessen was a very good show for us, the stage was a little strange, but as soon as we started playing, you forget all about it. We talked to some of the people there, everyone there as well as all over Europe are a lot more intensely into Metal unlike here, where it is mostly trendy kids who go to shows because there is nothing else to do. Nothing really special happened at the show, though the club was nice enough to let us crash for the night in the bar.”

Do you know a bit about the German scene? Do you like it? Are there any bands you have been in contact with?
“I knew very little about the German scene before coming over there. From what I have experienced there I enjoy it a lot, like I said, the people there are much more knowledgeable and insane about music than I am used to here at home. We haven’t been in contact with too many bands from that area, but we now have met a bunch of maniacs that we hope to keep in correspondence with.”

Your MCD / LP “Ritual Cleansing Of The Whore” was released on Merciless Records this year and it is as dark, brutal and blasphemous as your live-performance! But how did you get in contact with Merciless and how did press and fans alike react on your debut?
“Well, we originally released the demo on tape, and after sending out a few, one of them made their way to Akhenaten from Breath Of Night Records. He contacted us after hearing the demo and a live show on CDR that he had received about releasing something from us. We agreed to let him and Merciless re-release the demo on vinyl and CD as we were already working with WarHammer on the upcoming CD. The release date of “Ritual Cleansing Of The Whore” was only about 7 days before we arrived in Germany, so it hasn’t been out long enough to have heard too much feedback yet.”

Please tell me more about the artwork and lyrics on “Ritual Cleansing Of The Whore”. It is obvious that MANTICORE is anti-christian and spreads hateful blasphemy against all clerical bastards, but unveil some details about MANTICORE’s message and views!!!
“The artwork is something the label came up with, and sent it to us for our opinion. We thought it represents the ideals of MANTICORE perfectly. The lyrics describe the death of Christianity and all who stand for it, we are very simple in our views, we have no place for the sheep who wander the earth looking for something to carry them over to the next day. We stand for one’s own power over themselves, not some shallow 2000 year old stories that have no meaning in our everyday lives.”

Do you have any plans for a full-length CD / LP yet? What will it be like compared to “Ritual Cleansing Of The Whore?
“We have recorded our debut full-length CD entitled “Bowels Of The Holy… Anoint Us In Evil”, it has ten assaults of violent blackened Death Metal. Some of the songs are: ‘Urine Flowing Through The Veins Of Christ’, ‘Demonic Rites’ and ‘Feast Of The Beast’. Most of the songs are along the same lines as “Ritual…” with a lot more blasting and more chaotic riffing. All in all it is essentially the same style music, just more evolved. This will be released through WarHammer Records sometime this fall.”

What is your opinion about the US Black & Death Metal scene at the moment? I think with bands like Thornspawn, Black Witchery, Wind Of The Black Mountains, Nunslaughter or Kult Of Azazel the US underground is quite prospering, do you agree? What are your favorite national bands?
“I think the US has a lot of really good underground bands right now, but I still feel it is too easy to record and release CD’s these days. There is too much shit being released just because it is so cheap to do so. Now you have to root through ten shit bands just to find one good band. The bands you mentioned are quite good though, we have played with most of them and they completely believe in what they do and do not compromise like so many of the kids nowadays who start bands. Favorite bands would be hard to do, I like everything from INCANTATION and IMMOLATION to BLASPHEMY and ARCHGOAT. But usually I listen mostly to the old shit like VENOM, POSSESSED and CELTIC FROST.”

What do you think about all those trendy Death / Grind acts like Brodequin, Dying Fetus. Do like the “modern way” Death Metal or do you despise those bands?
“I give them credit for doing what they want to do, but personally I am not into 99% of the Death / Grind scene, some of it is ok, some of it just sucks. If I listen to Death Metal, I would rather listen to old Death Metal like HYPOCRISY (old) and CARCASS (old).”

What inspires you most when writing new songs, lyrics and riffs? Do you need a special atmosphere for that?
“Almost anything can inspire me musically. Mostly just the hatred that I have brewing inside me for the disgusting sights I see on a daily basis living in the US. Lyrically, I find I write well when I am outside during one of the extreme storms we get living on the great lakes. Lightning and thunder bellowing through the night for hours on end just seems to put everything into the proper perspective, and lets you see what little our pathetic lives mean.”

Tell me something about the live gigs you did already, I saw pictures where you cut yourself and the bloody scars could not be overseen at the gig in Giessen! Why didn’t you do the bloodletting at that occasion too?
“The bloodletting is completely up to Satanael, as this is something that he does on a personal level as well. After playing a show in Chicago last year, he has opted to not continue on the tradition of bleeding at every gig, and will only do so when the mood strikes him.”

What bands would you like to play with live someday? Are there any legendary acts or bands that have already disbanded you would love to open for?
“We would love to play with a band such as IMPALED NAZARENE (only if they played songs off the first couple albums though, and no new shit!!) or BLASPHEMY. Other than them, we will play with bands that are 100% into what they do and truly believe in themselves. As for legendary bands, we would have truly enjoyed blaspheming live with Beherit, Archgoat or SARCOFAGO.”

Are there any Metal legends you wish you could work with once? Maybe with VENOM, KREATOR, SLAYER, POSSESSED or even METALLICA members?
“If I could work with anyone from the days I grew up in, it would have to be Jeff Beccera (POSSESSED), I have never really thought about that before. Also Cliff Burton would be at the top of the list, the only true bassist of that certain band that is now so gay I won’t even mention their name.”

What relations do you have to occult, satanic or anti-christian works or attitudes? What do you think of LaVey and Crowley?
“I believe in my own twisted views of religion. I have no link to any structured form of belief at all. I feel that you should believe in yourself and not what others have said before you, as that is usually not relevant to today’s way of life at all. I think LaVey is one of the greatest jokes of all time, he made a fortune by claiming to head a Church Of Satan, that in itself goes against everything we are against. Why do you need to belong to a church to possess your own views about something? Just send your cash to the COS and all is well, that is just as hypocritical as the fucking Jewish religions. Crowley was a true deviant and believer in himself, therefore I have nothing bad to say about the Great Beast.”

What do you think about religion in general? Do you think it is still strong and important in our society? How do you think can one weaken or even destroy the church’s influence? Have you ever had any negative experience with christians?
“In America, religion is very strong. If someone with power were to state he was an atheist, he would instantly lose all credibility from 80% of the population. I do not think we will ever destroy the chuch’s influence, because most people are so weak-minded that they would never believe that they control their own destiny, not some book that was written years ago. Therefore it is here to stay, unfortunately. I haven’t had too many negative experiences with xtians, just some of the door to door types that come around. As soon as I answer the door though, they usually understand where I come from right away and decide I am beyond their ‘help’.”

What would you think if one starts the ultimate war against all that is christian?
“We are for anything that includes the mass destruction of the human race. And that is as good as place as any to start with.”

What does Death Metal mean to you, how would you define it? How does one truly “live” Death Metal? Is it just clothes and music or is it more? To me it is also a uncompromising way of thinking.
“To me Death Metal is the music that I have always been into, pure hate and aggression forged through music. I don’t think it is so much clothes and music, I just think it is a way of life. It should be the driving force behind everything.”

What are your Metal faves at the moment, the latest albums you bought, alltime faves? Are there any new, talented underground bands, you heard of?
“Right now I have been listening to a lot of BLACK WITCHERY (demo), SODOM and MERCYFUL FATE. I wouldn’t even know the last thing I bought, it would probably be something old school, though. Alltime favorites would be enormous, but would include Venom, Celtic Frost, HellHammer, Archgoat, Blasphemy.”

If you could ressurect someone, who would you bring to life again?
“No one – death serves a purpose.”

What’s your biggest dream or wish for the future?
“Just to keep playing my music, and make it back over to Europe again to party with everyone some more.”

Any last words to the fucking maniacs out there? Anything you wish to add (contact address, weblink, whatever…)? What are the next steps in MANTICORE’s blasphemous conquest?
"Next, the full length is coming out this fall, and we should be going into the studio sometime early 2003 to record the next CD. Other than that, just a couple of shows and writing new music. Anyone interested can get in touch with us at aypslou@netzero.net or yautja666@hotmail.com or write at MANTICORE, 1241 Cranford, Lakewood, Ohio 44107, USA. Thanks for the interview, keep spreading the messages of hate and blasphemy!!!"

Stefan Franke
live pics (last three) by: NöktrymM

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