Reviews Lord Mantis NTW

Lord Mantis


Line-up changes are a scary thought. When it was first announced that vocalist Charlie Fell and guitarist Ken Sorceron were leaving Lord Mantis, it indeed felt like a devastating blow for the band. And the timing was just so depressing, just a little while after the band had released its most complete work in Death Mask? However, Lord Mantis seamlessly bounced back from that in a rapid manner. Guitarist Scott A. Shellhamer (American Heritage) joined the band, as did bassist Will Lindsay and vocalist Dylan O'Tool, both members of the recently dissolved noise/sludge act Indian. Existing members Andrew Markuszewksi (Avichi) and Bill Bumgardner (also ex-member of Indian) could not have added more relevant musicians to the new line-up of Lord Mantis.

So, what does all this mean for Lord Mantis? Has their style significantly shifted with the addition of new members? The answer is not really. NTW feels like the natural successor to the excellent Death Mask and sees the band re-introducing familiar elements.

The blackened approach might appear as the biggest change in NTW, with the band more open to dwelling even further into their black metal side. The sinister lead work present in the genre finds its way through the many mazes Lord Mantis construct, from the extensions applied to “Semblances” and amidst the drone structures of “Final Division,” that ominous presence stays put. Every black metal assault in this EP feels like a scar, with O'Toole's vocal lines tearing through your flesh with their malicious delivery.

From there on, Lord Mantis present the counterpart to their black metal edge, which of course is the sludge groove. Not featured as prominent as in Death Mask, the band makes excellent use of the groove in order to unleash towering manifestations, as in the title track, or deliver blows with more determination and conviction, as in “Semblances.” And within these motifs the band is always able to find ways to intrigue the listener, in the form of some creeping dissonance, an injection of noise, or the construction of a more ambient, and slightly emotional variation (as in the “Final Division).”

NTW (or Nice Teeth Whore) is an introduction to the new Lord Mantis. The band does not throw away their old self, far from that. But the involvement of the new members, seems to be causing a slight mutation for the band. Even though at this stage this seems to have been contained to some shift in the balance between black metal and sludge, it has also energized the act. NTW offers a good collection of tracks, another grotesque vision from Lord Mantis. But, it is what comes after that, which has got me all intrigued.

7.9 / 10Spyros Stasis
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7.9 / 10

7.9 / 10

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