Tuesday 29 April 2014

Lord Mantis - Death Mask (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Release date : 29/4/14
Label : Profound Lore

Death Mask, album track listing :

1). Body Choke 8:46
2). Death Mask 6:38
3). Possession Prayer 6:59
4). You Will Gag For The Fix 2:53
5). Negative Birth 7:31
6). Coil 4:16
7). Three Crosses 10:07

Bio :

Delivering some of the most bottom-dredging, soulless, nihilistic metal imaginable, built of the most slamming chords and grueling buildups and penetrated from every side with the most corrosive vocal tirades, the quartet truly lives by a code of depravity within a wealth of anti-human views. The members’ hatred for the world exists even within the unit; turmoil within the ranks of LORD MANTIS is a constant factor. The band  has culminated their contempt for humankind and some of the most horrific personal experiences over recent years into an exceptionally malevolent entity on Death Mask. Unleashing something far darker even than their prior LP’s released via Seventh Rule and Candlelight, the visceral punishment one will endure on the seven works of Death Mask is not for the weak.

The fifty-minute Death Mask was recorded with Sanford Parker (Twilight, Voivod, Eyehategod, Yob) at Chicago-based Electrical Audio and Soma Studios, also responsible for engineering both prior albums. Indian’s guitarist/vocalist Dylan O’Toole also contributed additional vocals on two of the tracks on Death Mask, adding yet another dose of nihilism to the record, which bears the warped cover art of tattooist/musician Jef Whitehead (Leviathan, Twilight).

The Band :

Charlie Fell | Bass/vocals
Bill Bumgardner | Drums
Andrew Markuszewski | Guitars/backing vocals
Ken Sorceron | Guitars

Who are Lord Mantis?

My first taste of Chicago’s Lord Mantis came in 2012 with their second full-length ‘Perverter’. The cover art alone was enough to pull me in. Anytime religion is depicted in a negative way, you can count me in. The album is so heavy, packed full of distorted and bludgeoning riffs. There is not one bad song on this record. It is one album that I thought would be extremely hard to follow up.

Once again, with the release of ‘Death Mask’, Lord Mantis find themselves amidst a shitstorm of controversy over the cover art, which as you can see above, depicts a semi-bound, tortured looking transvestite wearing what is most likely s death mask. As far as all that shit goes, I’m not going to waste any of my time or yours talking about it. Bass player/vocalist Charlie Fell has taken care of all of that business in his interview with Steel for Brains.

With that being said, what I am going to talk about are the seven tormented tracks of blackened thrash/sludge that make up the stellar ‘Death Mask’. Things get going with the thick, fuzzy guitar intro on “Body Choke,” which gives way to several tormented screams, before kicking into a deep, evil churn. The title track is monumentally heavy, and so punishing, a pace which it maintains from start to finish, never once letting you catch your breath.

“Possession Prayer” starts off with a distorted riff and vocalist/bassist Charlie Fell and guitarist/backing vocalist Andrew Markuszewski chanting, “Blood, rust, incinerate,” a phrase which is oft repeated throughout this massive display of crushing metal . The instrumental, “You Will Gag For The Fix,” which I’m assuming is a reference to sucking dick for drugs, brings things way down a couple of notches. Somber piano keys are played over a bed of apocalyptic distortion and feedback. It’s over quick.

“Negative Birth” is a lumbering slab of sludge, a downward spiral if you will, into a vast ocean of nothingness. Charlie’s vocals are so fucking powerful, it is frightening. “Coil” shows just how versatile Lord Mantis can be. The song, not as heavy as the rest of the album, has no sung vocals, just Charlie speaking through some keys and changing his voice into a robotic version of himself. It sounds really cool over the music. The closer, “Three Crosses,” is the longest song clocking in at a little over ten minutes. It is a grand, mounting masterpiece that weaves its way in and out of your speakers with waning, progressive guitar chords and deafening, powerful drum beats.   

Tortured, evil minds with bleak, dark thoughts. That is who Lord Mantis are. Charlie, Bill, Andrew and Ken are firing on all cylinders, and they follow up their last album ‘Perverter’ with an even better, more epic sounding record. So many bands fail to do this, but not Lord Mantis. They will drag you through the very bowels of hell and back several times throughout the course of ‘Death Mask’. It’s a dark and twisted journey, one that you will gladly want to make over and over again.

‘Death Mask’ is an early contender on my list for album-of-the-year.

Words by : Ken Kopija

You can get it here

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