Grimy and grungy with Black Metal tendencies and an undeniable penchant for gettin’ it done in the overall loudness department, the fourth barnstormer from Lord Mantis easily stands out as one of the heavier highlights of 2019 and a sure contender for our best of year end list.
Full disclosure: I know nothing about Lord Mantis. I don’t know their history, previous recorded works…nothing! What I do know is that Universal Death Church is exactly the kind of heavy record that does it for me. It’s dynamic and dark, abrasive yet atmospheric, and a compelling listen from start to finish.
But I digress.
“Santa Muerte” as a first introduction to Lord Mantis (C’mon, there’s got to be a few other people out there who haven’t heard them yet!) is equally mind-blowing and mind-numbing. Within this two and a half minute opening barrage listeners get blast beats from new drummer Bryce Butler, Andrew Markuszewski and Ken Sorceron’s dual shred attack, and Charlie Fell’s brutal beyond brutal vocals as he delivers venomous lines with a vicious intent.
“God’s Animal” is built on a solid groove from Butler and introduces some inspired soloing until heading toward a gargantuan breakdown to end the track while “Qliphotic Alpha” has Fell sounding the most driven, possessed even and then ventures into soundscape-building territory and inserting some Psychedelia and Desert Rawk into the epic track before closing with a definitive bang.
“Consciousness.exe” is this vigorous behemoth with a monotonous riff refrain that comes at listeners like a battering ram to the skull and then “Low Entry Narcosis” is almost the spiritual successor to that with hypnotic acoustic guitar strums providing the basis with a spoken word vocal approach in the distance as strings and synths from producer Sanford Parker blanket it all.
“Damocles Falls” has everything built up from the previous track crashing back down in grand fashion as intricately constructed riffage from Sorceron and Markuszewski synchronize with Fell’s tremor-inducing bass and Butler’s skin bashing with Fell sounding particularly powerful with his guttural vocal manipulations.
Album number four wraps with two eight minute and change beasties that each offer up different conclusions yet are cut from the same sonic cloth. “Fleshworld” combines all the intensity that came before for one of the heaviest tracks on an album already filled with noisy bangers while “Home” explores the more experimental bits, adding saxophone from Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Brain Tentacles), but is just as unrelenting as anything that preceded it as Markuszewski and Sorceron put up an unstoppable wall of riffs accented by Butler’s heavy hits and vocals that seem to be more scathing when slightly subdued.
Universal Death Church is out through Profound Lore Records on November 22nd. Your copy can be pre-ordered by clicking here. For the latest on Lord Mantis, including where you might see them in a live setting, follow them online over here.