MANTICORA – The Black Circus Part 2: Disclosure

MANTICORA - The Black Circus Part 2: Disclosure
  • 8/10
    MANTICORA - The Black Circus, Part 2: Disclosure - 8/10


Locomotive Records
Release date: June 6, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

In case you’re not familiar with it, Manticora’s The Black Circus Part I: Letters was a concept album, telling the story of a guy in the late 1800s who joins a traveling gypsy circus and finds sinister doings transpiring all around him. The disc ends on a cliffhanger, with the protagonist having a tough choice to make. Letters‘ story was engaging and atmospheric, and musically it was a solid shot of Power Metal goodness, with plenty of heavy riffage, thundering drums, and strong vocals to go around.

Manticora returns now with the second installment in the saga, The Black Circus Part 2: Disclosure, looking to chill your blood once more as they wrap the story up.

Disclosure follows the format of the first album, albeit mostly without the narrated passages that marked that disc. Like with Letters, Disclosure breaks up the songs with atmospheric musical passages; of the 10 tracks on Disclosure, about half of them are brief bits consisting of carnival instruments, keyboard passages, or sampled sound effects of around a minute or so in length. Don’t feel cheated, though, since the “real” songs are all fairly long (none under five minutes, with the longest, “Gypsies Dance, Part II” being over eight minutes in duration).

Musically, Letters was a strong album that you could get into even if you didn’t pay close attention to the plot: it contained lots of headbanging goodness, and was a big-sounding album too. The disc had a serious tone, but didn’t forget that it was a Heavy Metal album first and foremost. Disclosure is much the same: great big sound, thrashing riffs and ripping guitar solos, a bottom end that pummels, forceful and impassioned vocals, huge choruses, and lots of intricate musicianship.

Despite all that’s going on throughout Disclosure, Manticora manages to keep their barreling Heavy Metal locomotive on the tracks at all times, and there’s a lot of subtlety to the music as well, be it through the arrangements or the quieter passages that give you a chance to catch your breath before all Hell breaks loose once again.

The dark story of Disclosure is pretty solid, and brings things to a satisfying wrap-up. Is it a happy ending, or a sad one? You’ll have to listen for yourself and find out. The plot is easy enough to follow, although you’ll most likely have to listen to the album a few times to completely get all of it.

One thing from the first album that’s missed a little bit here are the narrated passages – which were presented as letters – that helped listeners empathize with the main character and assisted in setting up the plot. Their absence isn’t too dramatic, but they did add an extra layer of atmosphere to the proceedings. Disclosure also assumes you’ve heard Letters, so if you haven’t listened to the first album you’ll probably be lost with this one.

The Black Circus Part 2: Disclosure is a strong effort from Manticora and it should please fans of Letters, and most Metal fans to boot.


  • Gary McLean

    Gary was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of the small Ontario, Canada town of Sault Ste. Marie, right on the border of Michigan, USA. When it comes to Metal and Hard Rock, Gary likes quite a few different bands, from stalwarts like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, to newer, hard-hitting groups such as Primal Fear, Hammerfall, and Paragon. Other favorites include the likes of Nightwish, Running Wild, Therion, Accept, Stratovarius, Dream Evil, Helloween, Rammstein, Dirty Looks, Crimson Glory, Tristania, and Gamma Ray. He thinks AC/DC deserves a paragraph all their own though.

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