For their first studio album in three years, North Carolina based jam band The Mantras show that, while they haven’t been releasing much music, they have certainly not stopped progressing as musicians. Touring incessantly and hosting their own multi-day music festival, Mantrabash, has honed the quintet separately and as a whole to their current apex of talent and skill. Though their frequent live releases have kept fans from feeling too disappointed, the new material on Knot Suite is a impressive snap shot of a band pulling all its talents into focus.

Listen to the album below, and read on for our full review.

Opening track “Here We Go” eases listeners with a looping sample and some lush orchestration before a snaking, winding jam splits the song in half. Bassist Brian Tyndall shines throughout the instrumental track, his deep line cutting through the mix and giving the higher end excursions on the piano and guitar an unavoidable counter-balance of weight and purpose. On the title track, “Knot Suite” The Mantras manage to walk the fine line between immersive instrumental passages alongside a positive lyrical outlook without skewing too far in either direction.

Newest member Julian Sizemore shines on the keys throughout, and his organ sound and his crisp piano notes seem perfectly suited to the southern blues based jams of “All You Here” and “Silas Brown.” Guitarist Keith Allen makes the most of the work being done by his bandmates, with crisp, deftly executed lead lines that pair well with soaring power chords to show a very well rounded set of skills. His entry on the song “DirtNap” sums up his great work on Knot Suite, opening with wall of sound blasts of distorted glory before slicing and dicing his way through the slowly building instrumental.

After the intensity of the previous tunes, the relative lightness of “Strongbox” will get listeners smiling and tapping their toes. Not content to go out on anything other than their best foot, it seems like The Mantras decided to save their best new song for last with the fast paced assault of “Destroyer.” True to its title, the tune leaves no corner of the sonic spectrum untouched by its end. As a summation of the album’s spirit, “Destroyer” serves it’s purpose perfectly with each member taking the opportunity to shine their absolute brightest.

The Mantras have been a part of the jam scene for more than a decade. Now armed with a amazing set of new tunes, here’s hoping that their tight jams and soaring solos find the ears of a legion of new fans. They’ve certainly earned them.