Cunning Mantrap – Hazmat
(Fastball Music - 2016)
German-based trio Cunning Mantrap made respectable waves with their 2014 debut EP and the definitive passion shows in this debut full-lengther.
'Red' opens the curtain with raw punk n'roll bombast before following with the laid back funk-meets grunge of 'Company', just to show there's a multi directional gear stick in this Cologne combo's vehicle. 'Pay The Prophet' begins as a punchy Stone Temple Pilots outing only to suddenly shoot into a high speed punk metal attack and then right back again, with a raw sounding blues solo break to follow later.
Launching further into the album's far apart depths, sunshine-bitten ballad ‘Detox' and 'The Lady's, peppered in African flavoured acoustic lush serve up a favourable midway lull while 'Weary' works round a sinister bass line with initial servings of latter day Metallica.
Frontman/guitarist Phry McDunstan makes a riffing stompfest of an entrance into ‘The Future II' only for the fuzzy bass layering that ensues to end up curdling the flavour. Ending proceedings, 'Straight Outta Hand' and the almost-ten-minute-long 'Curse Of The Leaden Tongue' are crunchy alternative workouts with a further touch of blues bendiness and a brilliant switch of vocal emotion by McDunstan throughout.
Taking into account that Cunning Mantrap set out with the sole object to create versatile, intelligent and interesting rock music, it might be fair to say they achieved that at halfway along their first long-player, if not way before.
A riveting, rollicking, and ruddy addictive album with only minor weak points to note, 'Hazmat' is a huge advert of promise for this young European act.
By Dave Attrill