Rating:
7.8
Lord Mantis - Death Mask
29 April 2014


01. Body Choke
02. Death Mask
03. Possession Prayers
04. You Will Gag For The Fix
05. Negative Birth
06. Coil
07. My Three Crosses


How does a band top a masterpiece, exactly? Within metal, history has shown us with albums like Human and Hammerheart that it's typically done by changing their sound to something different, but still potent and effective. While this may sound like a bunch of theoretical bullshit, in the case of Lord Mantis, this rule is proving true yet again with Death Mask, an album that may not live up to its landmark predecessor, but perhaps doesn't have to.

Lord Mantis' third album can alternatively be seen as both a regression and an evolution, depending upon the expectations one goes into it with. In regards to Pervertor, Death Mask is a lot less filthy and relentless: the production comes across as a little less murky, and the bludgeoning speed of the previous album is present in a much smaller dosage. While this may come across as a disappointment, Lord Mantis have traded these techniques in for an all around "thicker," heavier sound, and a songwriting that seems to be more structured and compact. Opener "Body Choke," for example, retains nearly all of the band's trademark elements, yet takes a much more doom-like approach, with a more moderate tempo that makes the music come across as catchier, and in some ways easier to get hooked into. It's not a bad move by any means, and thankfully the band have also retained some of the chant-like repetition in their lyrics (a la "The Whip And The Body"), particularly the repeated "Blood rush is chilling!" (or something like that) line on "Possession Prayer."

In essence, where Pervertor finely balanced out the sludge and black metal elements of the band, Death Mask appears to be more focused on the sludge than the black, at least as far as musical delivery is concerned. Some exceptions and increases in tempo do appear, such as on the delightfully nasty "Negative Birth," and towards the end of the closing track, but the overall lack of such a type of delivery on the album in general makes it feel a bit underdeveloped when it actually does rear its ugly head. The saying typically goes that a band's third album is the "make it or break it point," and Death Mask puts Lord Mantis in a bit of an odd position going forward, because it honestly does a bit of both.

Regardless of all the love fans have over their previous album, however, it should be noted that Lord Mantis were coming off a landmark blackened sludge album with this release, so the fact that they had an almost impossibly high standard to duplicate should be taken into consideration when listening to it. Death Mask is one of those "follow ups to a masterpiece" sort of albums, that will be likely to only disappointment listeners who go into it with the expectations created from the band's preceding album. Is it Pervertor, Vol. 2? Not in the slightest. But, for the sake of maintaining artistic dignity and evolution of sound, does it really need to be? This reviewer thinks not.

Highlights: "Body Choke," "Possession Prayer," "Three Crosses"

Take your vitamins, children.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Lord Mantis
Album: Death Mask


 



Written on 22.05.2014 by
Apothecary
"Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you"
-Carl Jung
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Cynic Metalhead - 22.05.2014 at 17:25  
I didn't feel the spark in this album. You inflated score on the basis of fanboyism but I still feel it wasn't GOOD AT ALL taking every aspect in this consideration. Pervetor was phenomenal but yet comparing with this will be out of the edge. This record has its own "playing" but very stripped off music it came out to be. Yes, I'm against this review. My score will stuck at 6.5.

Great band. Awesome music they created but this record is hellish letdown.
Troy Killjoy - 22.05.2014 at 17:57  
Felt more or less the same when I first heard this, although I wouldn't call anything Lord Mantis have released a masterpiece. I'd probably score it a few decimal points lower but it's still a serviceable album.

Nice to see Cynic maintaining his typical level-headedness when disagreeing with a reviewer's score.
Rupert - 22.05.2014 at 18:11  
Ahh I remember that album art.
Marcel Hubregtse - 22.05.2014 at 18:26  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 22.05.2014 at 17:57

... although I wouldn't call anything Lord Mantis have released a masterpiece. ...


Totally agreed. Pervertor was a good album but far removed from being a masterpiece.

Quote:

Nice to see Cynic maintaining his typical level-headedness when disagreeing with a reviewer's score.


I never thought I would see day that the name Cynic and the word 'level-headedness' would be mentioned in the same sentence. What's nect? You saying all of Cynic's posts make total sense?
!J.O.O.E.! - 22.05.2014 at 18:27  
To be honest as decent as this is I'm not sure I'll ever find myself listening to it again. The debut and sophomore are leagues ahead, and there's just not really the need for this one in my life. A shame, but I'm sure many people will enjoy it.
Apothecary - 22.05.2014 at 18:59  
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 22.05.2014 at 17:25

You inflated score on the basis of fanboyism

I don't even know how to begin to respond to such a silly comment. You can appreciate a band for trying a new formula and still being fairly good at it without being a fanboy.
Apothecary - 22.05.2014 at 19:02  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 22.05.2014 at 17:57

I wouldn't call anything Lord Mantis have released a masterpiece

Yes, that's the magic word that gets people debating over what exactly it means with all of their subjective opinions, because it is a subjective definition. All I meant by that comment was that it set the bar pretty high for the style of blackened sludge, and the mark is going to be pretty hard to top.
Apothecary - 22.05.2014 at 19:04  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 22.05.2014 at 18:26

Pervertor was a good album but far removed from being a masterpiece.

Right back at you in regards to Watching From A Distance
Lit. - 22.05.2014 at 19:17  
Written by Rupert on 22.05.2014 at 18:11

Ahh I remember that album art.

Probably the only thing I remember about my first listen to it, sadly. This is definitely a far cry from the great Pervertor.
Troy Killjoy - 22.05.2014 at 21:36  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 22.05.2014 at 18:26
I never thought I would see day that the name Cynic and the word 'level-headedness' would be mentioned in the same sentence. What's nect? You saying all of Cynic's posts make total sense?

I thought it was obvious that I was being sarcastic.

As for calling this a masterpiece Che, if you know such a subjective term is bound to incite argument or disagreement, why bother using it in the first place? At least contextualize it a little (a masterpiece within the blackened sludge scene or something, similar to how that Warning album is regarded as a masterpiece by the majority of those who listen to doom).
Apothecary - 23.05.2014 at 00:03  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 22.05.2014 at 21:36

As for calling this a masterpiece Che, if you know such a subjective term is bound to incite argument or disagreement, why bother using it in the first place? At least contextualize it a little (a masterpiece within the blackened sludge scene or something, similar to how that Warning album is regarded as a masterpiece by the majority of those who listen to doom).

Maybe because I want to? That's kinda flawed logic if you ask me, you're basically saying not to say something if you know it's going to be controversial. I don't censor what I say like that. I called it a masterpiece because I think it is, and I would think it'd be a least a little obvious that I'm referring to it as one within the style from which it originates, not the entire metal genre as a whole.
Marcel Hubregtse - 23.05.2014 at 00:42  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 22.05.2014 at 21:36

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 22.05.2014 at 18:26
I never thought I would see day that the name Cynic and the word 'level-headedness' would be mentioned in the same sentence. What's nect? You saying all of Cynic's posts make total sense?

I thought it was obvious that I was being sarcastic.




Of course I knew you were. But because the guy is such immense moron, even surpassing K7, I wanted to rub it in ;-)
Introspekrieg - 23.05.2014 at 01:23  
I really like "Coil". That is all.
Apothecary - 23.05.2014 at 01:58  
Written by Introspekrieg on 23.05.2014 at 01:23

I really like "Coil". That is all.

Hmmm, interesting you pick that one. I've heard a lot of people complaining about the vocals on that track.
Troy Killjoy - 23.05.2014 at 02:41  
Written by Apothecary on 23.05.2014 at 00:03
Maybe because I want to? That's kinda flawed logic if you ask me, you're basically saying not to say something if you know it's going to be controversial. I don't censor what I say like that. I called it a masterpiece because I think it is, and I would think it'd be a least a little obvious that I'm referring to it as one within the style from which it originates, not the entire metal genre as a whole.

Far be it from me to suggest how you review, I was just trying to point out that introducing a reader to your review by calling something a masterpiece (especially when it comes to something as unmiraculous as a black and sludge metal hybrid band) is bound to take the focus off the rest of the review because it's such a strong statement, it distracts from the rest of the words that follow. I don't see how that can be considered censorship or flawed logic, and I also don't see how it's obvious that you implied it was a masterpiece within the genre in particular considering your opening line.

But like I said, I'm not here to try and dictate how reviewers write. Consider it constructive criticism that might potentially help with balancing your subjectivity with diplomacy as it were.
Apothecary - 23.05.2014 at 03:08  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 23.05.2014 at 02:41

Far be it from me to suggest how you review, I was just trying to point out that introducing a reader to your review by calling something a masterpiece (especially when it comes to something as unmiraculous as a black and sludge metal hybrid band) is bound to take the focus off the rest of the review because it's such a strong statement, it distracts from the rest of the words that follow. I don't see how that can be considered censorship or flawed logic, and I also don't see how it's obvious that you implied it was a masterpiece within the genre in particular considering your opening line.

Advice taken, if not with a slight grain of salt
Erik M. - 23.05.2014 at 16:53  
Written by Apothecary on 22.05.2014 at 19:04

Right back at you in regards to Watching From A Distance


I guess you just lost a place to sleep next year during Roadburn. For the record, Watching From a Distance is surely 9-9.5 material for me.
Erik M. - 23.05.2014 at 17:04  
Written by Apothecary on 23.05.2014 at 00:03

I called it a masterpiece because I think it is, and I would think it'd be a least a little obvious that I'm referring to it as one within the style from which it originates, not the entire metal genre as a whole.


Well, if it's a masterpiece in a certain style, say, doom metal, then it's still a metal masterpiece and a masterpiece in music in general. I know what you mean by this, but it's just an odd statement (as was Troy's by the way).
Apothecary - 23.05.2014 at 17:13  
Written by Erik M. on 23.05.2014 at 16:53

I guess you just lost a place to sleep next year during Roadburn. For the record, Watching From a Distance is surely 9-9.5 material for me.

Something about Patrick Walker's vocals have just never done it for me. Far too whiny and "aaaaaaaahaaaaahaaaaah" for my tastes
Erik M. - 23.05.2014 at 17:28  
Written by Apothecary on 23.05.2014 at 17:13

Something about Patrick Walker's vocals have just never done it for me. Far too whiny and "aaaaaaaahaaaaahaaaaah" for my tastes


Didn't like his vocals initially either, but they really grew on me. Those "aaahaaahaaah" parts are actually great, especially that part in Bridges.
Mr. Doctor - 23.05.2014 at 17:59  
Written by Apothecary on 23.05.2014 at 17:13
Something about Patrick Walker's vocals have just never done it for me. Far too whiny and "aaaaaaaahaaaaahaaaaah" for my tastes

...You bastard. D:
Marcel Hubregtse - 23.05.2014 at 18:16  
Back on-topic, please.
Apothecary - 23.05.2014 at 18:58  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 23.05.2014 at 18:16

Back on-topic, please.

You disagreed with my opinion, so NO!!!
Marcel Hubregtse - 23.05.2014 at 19:07  
Written by Apothecary on 23.05.2014 at 18:58

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 23.05.2014 at 18:16

Back on-topic, please.

You disagreed with my opinion, so NO!!!


I have modding powers. So, you'd better listen to me or you want to be banned?
Apothecary - 23.05.2014 at 19:08  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 23.05.2014 at 19:07

I have modding powers. So, you'd better listen to me or you want to be banned?

I would love to be band, just find me a drummer and a guitarist please
Boxcar Willy - 24.05.2014 at 19:25  
This could be the most derailed thread we've had in awhile.

On Topic, I probably won't listen to this.
Apothecary - 25.05.2014 at 01:53  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 24.05.2014 at 19:25

This could be the most derailed thread we've had in awhile.

On Topic, I probably won't listen to this.

Off topic, I probably won't listen to the next Deafheaven
deadone - 26.05.2014 at 02:15  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 24.05.2014 at 19:25


On Topic, I probably won't listen to this.



Neither will I - the whole concept of Blackened Sludge sounds like it would an absolute mess and not in a good way.
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.05.2014 at 02:24  
Written by deadone on 26.05.2014 at 02:15

Written by Boxcar Willy on 24.05.2014 at 19:25


On Topic, I probably won't listen to this.



Neither will I - the whole concept of Blackened Sludge sounds like it would an absolute mess and not in a good way.


How so? If two genres could merge well in certainly would be sludge and black due to the nastiness of both in their original forms.
!J.O.O.E.! - 26.05.2014 at 02:38  
Black metal and sludge: cheese and pickle of metal. Rarely are two subgenres better suited to each other.
deadone - 26.05.2014 at 03:05  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.05.2014 at 02:24


How so? If two genres could merge well in certainly would be sludge and black due to the nastiness of both in their original forms.


And that is why I don't see this as appealing to me.


I don't mind sludge (or at least the more commercial purveyors of the genre ala early Mastodon or High On Fire or Down) but the more extreme elements gets too wall of noise and nasty for my liking.

And I hate Black Metal (other than a few symphonic BM bands).

Hence to me it sounds like it would be an absolute mess.


I can see it appealling to people who like their music really nasty but no appeal for someone who is an adherent of the school of commerical metal ala moi.
Apothecary - 26.05.2014 at 03:35  
Written by deadone on 26.05.2014 at 03:05

And I hate Black Metal (other than a few symphonic BM bands).

Well then I now declare a blood feud upon thee that shalt not be resolved until the days of Ragnarok
deadone - 26.05.2014 at 03:38  
Written by Apothecary on 26.05.2014 at 03:35

Written by deadone on 26.05.2014 at 03:05

And I hate Black Metal (other than a few symphonic BM bands).

Well then I now declare a blood feud upon thee that shalt not be resolved until the days of Ragnarok


As such I will summon the mighty forces of Cradle of Filth and post-Stormblåst Dimmu Borgir to be my champions.
Lit. - 26.05.2014 at 03:47  
Is Cradle of Filth even black metal anymore?
Apothecary - 26.05.2014 at 17:31  
Written by deadone on 26.05.2014 at 03:38

As such I will summon the mighty forces of Cradle of Filth and post-Stormblåst Dimmu Borgir to be my champions.

"Mighty"
Apothecary - 26.05.2014 at 18:11  
On topic: will be seeing Lord Mantis at this first annual Southern Darkness Fest in Tampa in August (Bongripper, ASOL, Magrudergrind, Sannhet, and Pelican are also on the lineup). Yall can expect a fully elaborative article for that one
mz - 27.05.2014 at 02:03  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 26.05.2014 at 02:38

Black metal and sludge: cheese and pickle of metal. Rarely are two subgenres better suited to each other.

I wonder what would be the othe sub-genres in this regard.
Marcel Hubregtse - 27.05.2014 at 10:22  
Written by mz on 27.05.2014 at 02:03


I wonder what would be the othe sub-genres in this regard.



black and doom, death and doom, black and death, black and thrash, death and thrash... quite a few acxtually
!J.O.O.E.! - 27.05.2014 at 13:07  
Indeed, you can combine pretty anything if you try hard enough
mz - 27.05.2014 at 13:47  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 27.05.2014 at 10:22


black and doom, death and doom, black and death, black and thrash, death and thrash... quite a few acxtually

Lets put it this way: if black metal and sludge are cheese and pickle of metal, what would for example death be?
Shouldnt cheese be saved for power metal, for instance?
mz - 27.05.2014 at 13:47  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 27.05.2014 at 13:07

Indeed, you can combine pretty anything if you try hard enough

unless you want to combine progressive metal and drones ;p
!J.O.O.E.! - 27.05.2014 at 13:50  
Written by mz on 27.05.2014 at 13:47

unless you want to combine progressive metal and drones ;p

What about this? Not far off it if you ask me
Apothecary - 27.05.2014 at 15:50  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 27.05.2014 at 13:50

What about this?

2001 reference with album cover?
!J.O.O.E.! - 27.05.2014 at 16:40  
Written by Apothecary on 27.05.2014 at 15:50

2001 reference with album cover?

Yep, and the band name. The object itself being called the Monolith.
mz - 27.05.2014 at 19:07  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 27.05.2014 at 13:50

What about this? Not far off it if you ask me

No solos, no odd timing...
But I can vaguely see what you mean.
deadone - 28.05.2014 at 02:06  
Written by mz on 27.05.2014 at 02:03

Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 26.05.2014 at 02:38

Black metal and sludge: cheese and pickle of metal. Rarely are two subgenres better suited to each other.

I wonder what would be the othe sub-genres in this regard.



Defnitely wouldn't call black metal and sludge the cheese and the pickle as both genres are relatively specialised with limited appeal. I'd reserve "cheese and pickle" tag for more mainstream genres - Thrash, Death, Heavy.

And yes Power Metal and cheese!

As for Black and Sludge - I'd say some sort of onion relish, horse radish or capers. The appeal is there but it's not that widespread and it requires a specific palette.

Just my $0.02.
!J.O.O.E.! - 28.05.2014 at 03:03  
Actually I was referring to the deliciousness of cheese and pickle, that black and sludge go together so incredibly well. I wasn't making any allusions to its "popularity" That would imply that pickle is a frequently used accompaniment in sandwiches. Which it clearly isn't. That would be a dumb analogy to make anyway as food is infinitely more region specific than metal music. I'm fairly sure blackened sludge music has reached places that cheese and pickle sandwiches have seldom set proverbial foot.

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