Album Review

Lord Mantis – “Death Mask” – [Profound Lore]

Rat King   8/13/2014   A Library, CD


Lord Mantis are a quartet of dudes from Chicago. They create sludgy, blackened metal and produce controversy as a byproduct. There is a warm, visceral, meaty quality to Death Mask, as suggested by the cover art, but it still sounds very slick and clean (in terms of production). Distorted guitars, occasional blast-beats, and sneering, bared-teeth anger are still present- it is metal, after all. The tracks tend to be on the longer side, averaging slightly under seven minutes. FCCs on tracks 1, 2, 3, and 5.

Vocals are generally discernible, but not clean, and tend more towards screaming than growling. Track 5 features Dylan O’Toole of Indian providing guest vocals with hints of mommy issues and sexual trauma. Those who want something prettier may look to track 4: a nice little guitar and more-heavily-processed guitar instrumental, accompanied by some background static.

There are also doom and industrial sides to Lord Mantis, which are most present on tracks 1 and 6, respectively. The latter is a slower piece, with recited lyrics processed to the point of mechanization and use of Moog synths in what is probably the weakest link in the Death Mask chain.

Lyrics are mostly about violence, self-loathing, and violent self-loathing. Lord Mantis are self-described nihilists, which should give you an indication of what to expect. Surprisingly, track 7 heavily references the crucifixion but avoids the usual declarations about false gods and dead saviors in favor of a martyrdom metaphor. The slow start- funereal drums and all- make track 7 a general oddity, but it is also one of the strongest tracks on the album.

If you’re looking for black-sludge-doom-noise metal that’s very much on the professional end of the garage-studio production spectrum, this might be it. Those seeking dirty, broke, angry Satanists will have to go elsewhere, and may God speed thee on thy quest.

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