“No tears, please. It’s a waste of good suffering.” – Pinhead, Hellraiser
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you…have you ever seen the face of a true nightmare? Ever stared, wide-eyed and scared senseless at something so goddamn, unforgivingly gruesome that its cold, pale fingers dug their way deep into your quivering brain forever? Ever been unwillingly dragged into a predicament so fucking magnificently horrid that the mere thought of it even being possible made you feel as though you were going to vomit your entrails from every orifice, and find yourself firmly planted six feet under rancid soil? I’m talking about the kind of situation that, if you’re lucky to walk away from it, you’re still stuck with it…haunting you every single day, until your last, pitiful gasp for polluted breath. I’m talking about the idea that, to truly know what is beautiful, you need to see some shit on the other side of the spectrum, and do one of two things: embrace it, or go right the hell home. I’m willing to bet that if you’re somehow living and breathing in this filth-ridden world…whether you walk on two legs or eight, you’ve most likely seen some shit that will stick with you forever and then some, in a very unpleasant manner. If you somehow didn’t answer any of the above questions with a resounding “Hell yes!!“ (or something to similar effect), then you must never leave the confinement of your living quarters. That, or you’ve never even managed to open your ears to experience the type of blissfully nightmarish sonic assault that can be unleashed by a band like Chicago’s own demons of blackened sludge depravity, Lord Mantis!!
Upon a full listen of the band’s brand new offering, Pervertor (Candlelight Records), it seems perfectly reasonable to say that these four dudes have not just opened a new door into what scope extremity can achieve, they’ve flat out burned it from the hinges with a venomous concoction of misanthropic filth and the scorching flames of Hell itself. While some of their contemporaries wear the apparent influence of black metal as more of a life jacket than a badge of honor, Lord Mantis take that inspiration and inject it directly into the pulsating main arteries of a beast that has long hungered to ravage the concept of serenity.
The way the galloping opening number (and personal favorite), “Perverter of the Will”, comes on like so many vile incarnations of the Plague should be warning enough for what torments are to follow. Muddy guitar tones and eerie-as-hell atmospherics are about to swallow you whole, and I’m going to assume that the agonized scream of vocalist/bassist, Charlie Fell, could surely eviscerate an angel, if put to the test. “Levia” serves as the only real gear shift on Pervertor with its half-screeched-half-(almost)spoken vocal approach and slower, cleaner guitar passages. The rest of the record maintains a steady sight on the mission at hand with “Ritual Killer”, “At the Mouth”, and relentlessly cruel closer, “The Whip and the Body”, following suit nicely, with the only thing resembling a drawback would be the somewhat buried vocals on “Septichrist”, but, like a flame to a church door, it still gets the job done!
Yes, not only does Pervertor raise the bar to a new, joyously disgusting level…it should cause many of the band’s peers to revisit the idea of giving up. With this record, Lord Mantis have expanded their powers of devastation considerably. Where past effort, Spawning the Nephilim, dabbled more in a thrash-related attack, Pervertor drags it all into a decidedly darker abyss that will make your last grueling nightmare seem like a cake walk. But trust me, that’s a good thing!