Lord Mantis – Death Mask


Review by Jason Guest

Profound Lore

Release Date: 29 April 2014

2012’s Pervertor (reviewed here) was as unnerving as it was devastating. Disturbing, sinister, and of war-like enormity, it saw the band making significant steps forward since their 2009 debut, Spawning The Nephilim. Course, caustic, and corrosive, Lord Mantis bear a sound that is simultaneously concentrated and chaotic and as refined as it is raw, and with album number three, Death Mask, Lord Mantis have (d)evolved even further.

Filthy, rabid, biting, and bilious, opener ‘Body Choke’ combines down-tempo drudgery with a distinctly acidic taste and inconceivable density that makes its near-nine minutes a compelling rather than an enduring listen. The level of brutality already established, it’s up to the title track to raise the tempo as well as the level of sickness. Menace and foreboding pervade the textural depths of the battery that is ‘Possession Prayer’, contrasting well with the shadowy tranquility of the dark ambient ‘You Will Gag for The Fix’, a sinister vocal-less lullaby that acts as preparation for the doom-like horror of ‘Negative Birth’. Here, Charlie Fell’s vocals are disturbing – even more than before – the spectral gloom of the track augmented by his intense and succinct expulsions.

After a long and intense build to its chaotic climax, we find ourselves at the mercy of ‘Coil’, an instrumental constructed of leaden riffs, deathly drums, and electronically-mangled samples. And so after what is already an incredible album, where is there left to go with the closing track? Where an inferior band could so easily collapse just before the finishing line and leave us disappointed with a filler, Lord Mantis push it even further with the ten-minute epic ‘Three Crosses’ and floor us with a track that is melodic and mighty, intense and inspired, and one that leaves us breathless, overwhelmed, and stunned.

With original guitarist Greg Gomer no longer in the band, his replacement Ken Sorceron is a choice one. His work with Abigail Williams has always been impressive and his presence in the band has both maintained and elevated Lord Mantis beyond what they already were. The riffs, the drums, the vocals, the tracks, the structures, the atmospherics, and the acidic intensity of the countless bruises inflicted by Death Mask, seven tracks in forty seven minutes, all of them heavy and intense, this is nothing less than incredible.

Lord Mantis – Death Mask9 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Body Choke
  2. Death Mask
  3. Possession Prayer
  4. You Will Gag For The Fix
  5. Negative Birth
  6. Coil
  7. Three Crosses