By: Chris Bull
Album Type: EP
Date Released: 29/04/2016
Label: New Density
“NTW” track listing:
1). SIG Safer
4). Final Division
4). Final Division
When a band changes their vocalist, one of two things can happen; the band simply fill the shoes the vocalist left behind with a similar performer and simply carry on rehashing the same ideas (see Van Halen/Judas Priest) or they appoint someone totally different which inspires them through more success (see Black Sabbath/St Vitus). Which side of the coin Lord Mantis fall under remains to be seen...what is clear however, is that they show no signs of slowing down.
The addition of Dylan O'Toole and Will Lindsay to replace vocalist/bassist Charlie Fell (as well as Scott Shelhammer on guitars replacing Ken Sorceron) should come as no surprise given their involvement with drummer Bill Bumgardner's other band Indian. Both are worthy of carrying on the Lord Mantis legacy into 2016 and beyond.
Onto the music; opening track 'SIG Safer' has more black blood running through its veins than any previous LM song (and the black blood has been a constant), chief songwriter Andrew Markuszewski gives a little nod to his other project Avichi here. The vocals from O'Toole are characteristically harsh and venomous, this is the reason he's one of my favourite vocalists in the genre. Bumgardner keeps the beat steady and penetrative, allowing the filth from everyone else to flow. 'NTW' or 'Nice Teeth Whore' is classic Lord Mantis. The solid, pummeling drums laying a foundation for the riffs. O'Toole sounds right at home screeching and croaking over the top of Markuszewski's guitars. The rhythm remains a constant, rarely deviating from the driving punch of the drums.
It seems as though Markuszewski has taken a leaf out of Taake's book with the opening riff of 'Semblances' sounding straight from the fjords while Lindsay keeps things interesting on the bass front. When it slows down, it has all the trademark Lord Mantis disharmonies and drum stabs. Brilliant. The chilling, sombre melody of the opening riff of 'Final Division' gives way to some nihilistic doom with O'Toole screaming a series of numbers in his inimitable fashion. The song becomes more bleak as it reaches its climax. The rhythm maintaining a certain depressive feel while the subtle nuances of the lead guitar and the underpinned screams only add to the melancholy.
This EP serves as a stop gap, a sample if you will, of where Lord Mantis are capable of going. I will certainly be looking forward to hearing a full length with this line up, it's sure to be a contender for album of the year, whichever year it's released.
...and finally, in my opinion, O'Toole is definitely more Ronnie James Dio than Sammy Hagar.
“NTW” is available to preorder here and will be released on 29th April