Lord Mantis – Spawning the Nephilim

This is pissed off fucking raw sludge metal at its finest. Lord Mantis hails from Chicago and features members of Indian, Avichi, and an ex-member of Nachtmystium.  They play a form of ugly blackened sludge metal fronted by rabid sounding shrieked vocals ( that bring to mind Seth Putnam at the height of his Anal Cunt powers), savage hoarse yelling and guttural lows backing them.  The combination is a winning one and if you’re a fan of harsh, ugly music this is going to be a release you’ll want to revisit again and again.

The music switches between torturously slow sections of some of the darkest sounding doom you’re likely to hear and a faster paced sludge beat down.  Unlike something like Eyehategod however, Lord Mantis has stripped away all of the stoner rock and southern influences leaving only the burnt out core of the sludge sound, with a shot of black metal minimalism meets epicness and a truckload of rage.  The band showers you with a rough, dirty sounding, down tuned guitar and bass wall of napalm slime backed by a crashing cymbal and pounding drum assault.  Musically this brings to mind visions of desolate streets in a post apocalyptic city mostly burnt to ash populated with only the ugliest dregs of humanity.  That or the tormented agonized screams of a deformed feral child locked in a pitch black basement and only fed bowls of partially cooked slop.   So basically, it’s the type of shit that puts big fucking smile on my face!

Another thing I dig about this band is song titles that are as blunt as the ugly stick, fitting perfect with the rather un-subtle approach of the music.  Reading through the list of songs before throwing on the disc could be likened to scraping off a layer of the filth encrusting the communal underbelly of humanity and putting it into a syringe to shoot straight into the main vein.  Songs like Push Tug Wipe, Unnatural Dwarfism, Abducted by Aliens, Hit by a Bus and Zealot performed in this band’s unique style carry more menace seething behind them than most of the ridiculous medical jargon or sicko porn over populating death metal and goregrind these days.  When a band can make a song about being abducted by aliens that embodies the horror of a savage anal cavity violation via a large probe or perhaps an un-anesthetized surgery instead of the usual cheese associated with sci-fi themes in metal, you know that band is a winner.

Lord Mantis also strays for the most part from loading the album with unnecessary amounts of samples in an attempt at being offensive or funny.  You only get a brief intro at the start of the first track Push Tug Wipe that sounds like a terrified female victim struggling in bondage while an electronic whine builds in the background to an explosion that kicks off the track.  Other than that you have one other at the start of Hit By A Bus that features this rank Nazi sounding sort of dude raging about how he wants to squeeze fucking hippies that fucking rules.  Both times the samples suite the music perfectly and don’t betray the mood set by the album as a whole, which proves they can be effective if used sparingly and tastefully.

The cover artwork is pretty cool for this one too.  It brings to mind a combination of a Clive Barker painting mixed with the drug fueled weirdness of the artwork on OLDThe Musical Dimensions of Sleastak.  Kind of a weird Minotaur-like demon with impossible abstract proportions and eyeballs popping out with a bad acid trip happening in the background (and I mean that in the most non-hippy way possible, remember "wish to squeeze them, these are fuckin' hippies. AAAAHHHH!!!"). 

This is not an album that is going to appeal to people who like their music to be fun or polished.  This is ugly music for ugly people personified, and in my not so humble opinion this is one of the best sludge releases I’ve ever listened to.  Highly recommended!!