So how does Lord Mantis follow up 2012’s Pervertor? An album that’s contents are as sick, twisted and heavy as the cover art? By upping the ante on everything and creating Death Mask. Lord Mantis take things to an extreme with Death Mask – the drumming is tighter, the octave tunings are heavier and the lyrics are as sick as ever. Hell even the artwork is a precursor to what’s inside. Featuring standout tracks Body Choke, Negative Birth and the crushing/beautiful Three Crosses, Death Mask is one of the Top 10 releases of 2014. Along with Eyehategod, Floor, Coffinworm, Divider and Thou, Lord Mantis have made 2014 the finest year of heavy music.
Death Mask is not as cohesive as Pervertor – I consider Pervertor to be one of the finest albums ever made. Comparing it to that is unfair. But Death Mask still reeks of hatred and stings like bile. Negative Birth features Dylan from Indian on vocals and contains not only one of the finest riffs but you’ll be singing “I can take it all in/If you can take it all in, too” along with him. Screaming like you need a fix.
It’s unfortunate that Lord Mantis is no more. But I’d rather a band end before they fizzle out. What made them so great is probably what led to their demise. There is tension on each song and you know that Charlie Fell uses the bass and vocals as therapy. God knows what he’d do if he didn’t have the outlet. And thankfully, we reap the benefits. Thank you to Lord Mantis for setting the standard for truly heavy music.