EP Review: LORD MANTIS NTW
It's not like Lord Mantis haven't gone through a billion members or anything. So you'd expect by now that their sound would be drastically unrecognizable from their initial introduction back in 2008 (yeah, I know they began in 2005. So those with their red corrective pens ready can fuck right off) to be something off from their humble beginnings. Something, perhaps, less aggressive. But no, that's not the case. You'll find that Lord Mantis still gives no quarter, and that you deserve none.
I'll admit, I stupidly slept on 2014's Death Mask and I've no excuse for that. So I won't be making that mistake again. NTW (or Nice Teeth Whore) is the latest EP from the blackened sludge metal unit that, if you didn't know they had a bit of a remodel (which now includes Dylan O'Toole on vocals, and the second member of Indian to join, and although Will Lindsay of Indian also played bass on this release, he is no longer with the band). Thought the new additions actually serve to remind us of what we already know the band is capable of.
NTW is very much what you've come to expect from Lord Mantis. And at this point Bill Bumgardner is the only original member from their initial 2005 line-up The EP is a fevered, unforgiving slab of torture and mayhem. Consisting of only four tracks, it at least comes in at the length you'd expect from the band (roughly twenty-three minutes). No song clocks in under four minutes. Hell, they only get longer from there. Which, considering Lord Mantis' perchance for discomfort only serves to enforce their intentions.
NTW doesn't pull any punches you wouldn't expect. The album is plenty noisy, plenty sludgy and sounds like a worth while successor to Death Mask. What it doesn't do is surprise anyone. The EP almost feels like it's playing it safe, as though the band is continuing to grasp its bearings and stay afloat. That doesn't mean that Lord Mantis has lost any of its bite. There's still plenty of aggression throughout and the album never fully comes off as something safe.
“SIG Safer” the bands unhinged way of kicking things into gear. The repetitive chorus sounds like anguished torture and the track is a pure unrelenting attack. In fact, the piece would have sounded perfectly at home as an intro to Death Mask as well. It's a reminder that the band, despite their new line-up haven't lost their bearings and remain in true spirit.
It's once we pass this point that everything feels like consistency. No new territories are unearthed, but that can be easy to forget as the album thunders forward. The experience can have its psychedelic moments times (see: “NTW”) but for the most part remains an aggressive sludge-laden experience best experienced through bloodied knuckles.
NTW comes off as more of a taste of things to come. And to be fair, all those things are welcome. The sludgy aggression, the trippy sections, and the carnivorous feeling is something that never fades, but it feels like it could have been honed more. But don't let that stop you from getting into this. NTW is a plenty worthy release. It's just going to make you wish that there was more.
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