Mandala: “Completely Free” – defining their own sound

Since 2015, the five piece lineup of Mandala, out of San Diego, California features Michael Trevizo and Cyric Woodell on guitar, Garrett Galvan on bass and background vocals, Greg DeGracia on drums and Jon Janos on vocals. They released their first collection of tracks in June of 2016, and their full-length album is currently in progress, set to release in 2017.

The single cover
The single cover

By their own admission, Mandala is on “a mission to connect the multiverse through music: to open minds to the bigger picture in life, to enlighten the masses, to unify, equalize and bring forth the inner peace that we all crave in a world fraught with chaos and turmoil.”

The group’s latest single is entitled, “Completely Free”.  This is what metalcore fans should have people listen to when they say “everything is so evil and depressing in metal.” These guys weave a sense of spirituality seamlessly into commentaries on the human condition. The music is equally powerful in conveying this positivity through melodies that are at once relatable, yet serious and heavy when they need to be.

A few highlights of this track are the guitarist’s playing. Metal often is about solos and riffs that are played at great speed often times  well-placed notes and riffs that create the right feel, timing, and phrasing is more important than being able to play ascending and descending 16th note sweeps at 250 beats per minute in conjunction to the breakdown in the background.

And this is what Michael Trevizo and Cyric Woodell achieves here – monster riffs that create a wall of sound and intense atmospheres, without all the theatrics.

Mandala
Mandala

Also of note is Jon Janos’ growling, it is pronounced and adds an additional dimension and depth to the music. Jon has some of the clearest and more unique growls in the industry. Finally, the drummer and bassist are inventive, and, at times, unconventional. They have to reflect the music the band writes and their perspectives, as well the rest of the band’s, is unique.

“Completely Free” starts off rather quietly before the heavy rhythm section kicks in, punching you square in the face, leaving you with that characteristic euphoria you get after hearing a new song for the first time that you immediately love.

The track shows that the band is clearly trying to define their own sound, and at the same time demonstrates an intense care for how they write their music. This also means that “Completely Free” has a huge sense of depth, as the song itself varies in mood and tone between the beginning and the end, adding a lot of detail.

Overall, if you want an honest metalcore band that is set to break boundaries, pick up this single and get ready for the album!

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