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- Lord Mantis, Pervertor
METAL | Philip Montoro
Local extreme-metal deviants Lord Mantis released their second full-length, Pervertor, on Tuesday. Despite the diseased and decrepit look of its amazingly blasphemous artwork (by Justin Bartlett, who also did Dragged Into Sunlight's Hatred for Mankind), the album puts me in mind of a huge rampaging machine from the Matrix movies. Guitarist-vocalist Andrew Markuszewski has explained (in a hilarious NPR interview) that he's by and large responsible for its occasional oddly mechanical time signature and outpourings of demented sludge. He joined the band after the other members—bassist-vocalist Charlie Fell (who's played with Markuszewski in Nachtmystium), drummer Bill Bumgardner (also of Indian), and guitarist Greg Gomer—had written most of 2009's Spawning the Nephilim, but for Pervertor he was involved from the get-go. He seems to have given Lord Mantis's twisted black metal a more obsessive rhythmic drive, with fewer stops and starts, as well as a slight industrial feel—but the latter could also be because Sanford Parker's production (he worked on both records) has evolved in that direction.
What gets me are the bursts of seesawing, lurching rhythms, more violent than queasy—sometimes the band thrashes like a helicopter entering ground resonance, about to shake itself apart. And I like the ugly sheen of distortion on the vocals—they complement the guitar sound better on this record, even when they're hair-raisingly high in the mix. I listen to some metal that would scare the paint off a lighthouse, but a few of the screams in "Septichrist" and "At the Mouth" still give me the willies.
Spawning the Nephilim came out on Chicago label Seventh Rule, but for Pervertor Lord Mantis signed to the U.S. wing of Candlelight Records, a much larger operation. They're looking to tour more, and are shopping for a booking agent so they can hit the road this spring—Bumgardner says the schedules of their members' better-established bands won't be a problem. So far Lord Mantis haven't played in Chicago nearly enough, but they do have a show Fri 4/6 at Cobra Lounge.