Lord Mantis NTW (Nice Teeth Whore)

Lord Mantis NTW (Nice Teeth Whore)
6
It's hard to get a handle on what the fuck exactly Lord Mantis think they're doing. After the release of the band's last record, the musically brilliant but deeply problematic Death Mask (which drew fire from critics for having what some interpreted as transphobic album art), creative and personal rifts in the band (by which we mean: the members started physically fighting each other on tour) led to the departure of several members.
 
NWT (an acronym that stands for Nice Teeth Whore) is the first EP featuring a vastly altered lineup: guitarist Andrew Markuszewski and drummer Bill Bumgardner are joined by vocalist Dylan O'Toole and bassist Will Lindsay (e-Indian) and guitarist Scott Shellhamer (American Heritage). Aesthetically, Lord Mantis have retained their core identity through shift in personnel, emerging slightly less sharp and angular and more raw and muscular, but still characterized by the ugly, rancid loathsomeness that simultaneously draws and repels listeners. If anything, Lord Mantis are even angrier and more defiantly repulsive than ever before, and it's genuinely hard to tell if this much abjection suits them, or if it's becoming counterproductive.
 
Much like the plague of flies spewing out of a diseased uterus on the EPs cover art, there's no question that the band's agenda is unleashing a torrent of negativity, and "Final Division" is a hell of a track, blackened and terrifying, with a tinge of some hammer and tongs industrial elements that suit the congealing effluence of the guitar tone exceptionally well. Lord Mantis may yet survive, but the quality and stature of the new abomination they represent is yet to be seen. (New Density Records)