Metal seems to be getting artier and proggier these days so I guess it seems proper that hardcore (the little brother of metal) would do the same. It should be duly noted that hardcore saved metal and made it last into the ’90s as the hardcore scene of the ’80s provided what was pretty much the only sensible alternative to the true headbangers who didn’t want to lose their dignity by donning spandex and a whole can of Aquanet in their hair. I could go on about the ills of hair rock forever but today, boys and girls, we’re here to talk about Frantic Mantis. A super group in the underground sense, Frantic Mantis is the trio of Per Stalberg and Hakan Johansson of Swede rockers Division of Laura Lee and Shelby Cinca of D.C. art core collective Decahedron. And their metal/hardcore leaning debut, Data is Not Information, revolves around the concept of well, data, taking the heavy savior of the ’80s well into the future.
“Obsessive Online Community Drones” charges out with a hypersonic rhythm mixed with just a pinch of glam-rock and some Stooges like proto punk leanings and some good old-fashioned noise. The band experiments with the blips and bleeps of experimental electronica as “My Eyes Feel Too Large” chirps like R2D2 getting a handjob mixed with what appears to be the samples of some deranged ranting from a post-apocalyptic sci-fi B-movie. “2600 Meeting at Pentagon City Mall in 1994” is all the more interesting because it sounds good being slapdash and revved up all at once, with the beer-soaked party fun of Black Flag transported into a post-apocalyptic dive bar in Blade Runner.
Whoever twiddled the knobs on “The Brooding Polychromes” must have some mammoth calluses on their fingers after they recorded the track, while some retro robo-Krautness of “Glappkontakt” consummates with some Euro-industrial chagrin. And “Dark Horizons” proto-grunge presence lurks with guitar licks that could have come from an evil cyborg version of Tom Morello.
Listening to Data is Not Information is kind of like watching The Matrix because it keeps the listener thinking long after it is over. It also sounds like it could have been ghostwritten by Ray Bradbury. It is loud, furious, fast-paced and makes the perfect soundtrack for nuclear fallout.