July 30, 2014

POST #666: Lord Mantis - Death Mask (2014)


I’m briefly back from the corporate trenches (it’s brutal out there) and, seeing as it’s been more than a month since I’ve written something on here, I figured I’d do well and contribute to the festering pit that TZEEEAC has become. I’m having a really hard time mustering enough energy and motivation to write here on a regular basis, but one post every once in a while is doable, especially as I’ve amassed a pretty hefty backlog of stuff I wanna share and talk about.

Also, this momentary return to form happens to be the 666th post on TZEEEAC, so I thought “hey, what better way to celebrate this milestone than with some fucking horrible death metal album that will creep everyone and their dog out?”

Thus I give you Lord Mantis. A relatively new death metal outfit bred in the sewers of Chicago that have gained quite a bit of accolades for their efforts, especially 2012’s Pervertor. This year, they have returned with their third album, Death Mask, and a lot of people seemed to have lost their shit about the cover art, mainly because there’s a dong on it. The artist responsible for this nasty painting is none other than Wrest aka Jef Whitehead aka that dude from Leviathan and more importantly Lurker of Chalice. It’s pretty cool, I guess, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the cover art on Pervertor, penned by the mighty Justin Bartlett aka VBERKVLT and which featured deformed creatures feasting on the remains of some sort of crucified Jesus-like abomination. Not sure why I just typed this entire thing, but you should definitely check out Justin Bartlett’s stellar work. Do so while also listening to Lurker of Chalice and now we’re in business.

As for the music itself, Death Mask is a really weird beast and the best I can describe it is a filthy, gooey mixture of death metal, oozing sludge and earth-shaking drone with a hefty dose of doom metal and some odd bits of noise and industrial-type stuff thrown in. Most of the time, the riffs are fuzzy, very repetitive, pummeling as fuck and drowned in reverb. The drumming feels like being run over by stampeding mammoths and the vocals are some of the most infected, distorted and vile snarls I have heard on an album this year. The songs are long enough to allow these combined elements to reach their full potential and effects and a complete listen of Death Mask will leave you feeling weakened and disgusted. Album closer Three Crosses brings in some – dare I say? – beautiful guitar leads, but the most fun I’ve had with this opus lies in the first three tracks, which caused me much dismay and also made me wonder if maybe Lord Mantis are pioneering a new genre of music situated at the crossroads between drone, noise and death metal. Body Choke is especially brutal – it feels like being choked and stomped on for nearly 9 minutes with no respite. Love every minute of it.

Not sure yet if this album will make my end-of-the-year list (although I’m convinced many online publications will have a rightful spot for it on their lists), but you should definitely check it out because it is one of the more unique-sounding death metal albums I’ve encountered recently and it’s oppressive enough to remind you of the first time you listened to Wormphlegm.

No comments:

Post a Comment