Lord Mantis
Universal Death Church


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fernando Alves CONTRIBUTOR (78 Reviews)
November 23rd, 2019 | 99 replies


Release Date: 11/22/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Please remember, always laugh, never frown. It's only death.

Let me start by saying that I've never been a big sludge or stoner rock fan, but every now and then there are bands that manage to grab my attention, such as High on Fire, Inter Arma or Slugdge, and that's because they all have a hybrid sound, which feeds on genres that I'm close to. Chicago's blackened sludge perverts Lord Mantis are also part of this restricted group of bands. With three albums and an EP under their belt, the band has gained a solid reputation on the American underground circuit over the past few years, largely because of Pervertor and Death Mask which had a strong acceptance by the sludgy community, that enthusiastically embraced the band's filthy, chaotic style. Bringing multiple genres into its harsh sludge signature, such as black metal, doom, stoner or thrash, Lord Mantis has an aesthetic that puts them in a niche of their own. The markedly harsh vocals and the permanently raw atmosphere are the band's hallmark, and what sets them apart from the rest of the sludge pack.

Universal Death Church marks the return of guitarist/vocalist Andrew Markuszewski and aims to keep the band's legacy alive, thus honouring late drummer, and founding member, Bill Bumgardner. This tribute manifests itself in the album's title and opener 'Santa Muerte', which is a reference to Mexico's cult of the dead. This song mirrors the band's more straightforward black metal side, already present in past songs like 'SIG Safer' or 'My Three Crosses'. This approach will only be repeated again in 'Fleshworld's' first half, which is the album's most relentless moment. This means that, as expected, Universal Death Church isn't just an exercise in obscure speed, but a revealing of various raw and virulent intensities, which are shown throughout the album. Songs such as the acoustic 'Low Entropy Narcosis', which presents a spoken narrative, or 'Consciousness.exe', that revolves around a minimalist riff, both present an unusual side of the band. The cello in 'Fleshworld' or the saxophone in 'Hole', although unoriginal, also accentuate the band's interest in exploring new textures. In this sense, Universal Death Church is the band's most comprehensive album to date, the DNA is still there, but the approach is slightly different, more contrasting, more 2019. Other moments that surprised me positively were the Mercyful Fate-esque vibe in 'God's Animal', which swings between slightly more atonal chords, and the melancholy present in the final sequence of 'Qliphotic Alpha', that strangely reminds me of The Stranglers' Golden Brown. Despite these new colours, the band's hard fans can rest assured, Lord Mantis remains and will continue to be the creature we all know, the vocals retain the usual uncomfortable roughness and the riffs remain dirty and sludgy as always. Think of Universal Death Church as a safe step forward, with some new freshness, but with the usual bad breath.

Lord Mantis returns with a renewed union to keep the legacy alive and to honour the memory of one of their own. To this end, they have built a church with solid foundations, where we can read somewhere above the entrance:

Please remember, always laugh, never frown. It's only death.

RIP Bill Bumgardner (1981-2016)



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user ratings (80)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2019


15261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great jam, a bit different from previous albums, but I think you guys are gonna like it.

The guy who finds out who's on the cover is a boss.



Full stream:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJReC54nKxI&t=120s

Digging: Akhlys - MelinoŽ

WatchItExplode
November 23rd 2019


8335 Comments


Been killing these reviews man, keep it up.

Digging: Slothrust - The Pact

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2019


15261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks man, I appreciate it

chug73
November 23rd 2019


4650 Comments


You beat me to it, damn it.

Good review, pos'd

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2019


15261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I waited for you man, you said you were gonna publish yesterday, didn't you?

chug73
November 23rd 2019


4650 Comments


Yeah, I got home way later than I would have liked tho.
I'll publish anyway. It's probably for the best - what I had was kinda rushed.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2019


15261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I hate it when that happens to me, sorry buddy

trilo
November 23rd 2019


3541 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nice review. p disappointed with this one. songs are nice but the paper thin production here is unbearable





Digging: Torrential Downpour - TwentyTwentyTwenty

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2019


15261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well, truth be told, I just heard it with headphones and liked the production, but it all sounds good under phones, doesn't it?

trilo
November 23rd 2019


3541 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i thought it was more bearable in the car honestly. headphones is where i tapped out

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2019


15261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well that doesn't make any sense to me, but I'm getting old and I have to adapt.

On Monday I'll listen in the car and I'll quickly understand whether or not you're right.

chug73
November 24th 2019


4650 Comments


I have only heard this on a decent pair of headphones, sounded alright to me. production is quite trebly.

Also, Trap I submitted.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2019


15261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

submitted?

chug73
November 24th 2019


4650 Comments


Yeah, shoud be up now

trilo
November 24th 2019


3541 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@notrap it's because in my car i've got the treble lowered and bass raised so there's more weight to the sound. i keep it neutral on my dt 1990 pros

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2019


15261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's exactly how I like my equalizer trilo, the bass must be omnipresent ;)

chug73
November 24th 2019


4650 Comments


I prefer a flatter sound with a slight preference for mids

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2019


15261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's what a call a classic rock sound, flat & some mids

chug73
November 24th 2019


4650 Comments


Yeah, my inner boomer can't help it

chug73
November 24th 2019


4650 Comments


I remember when it was all about bass and headphones and albums were tuned for it.




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