There are many, many works of sludge out there that range so much in just how much raw heaviness they bring to the table, and it’s quite uncommon that we see a band bring it justice when it’s mixed with a different sound, but there is truly great potential for it. Bands like Inter Arma and Neurosis are perfect examples of that with tons more out there to note, and it’s here with Lord Mantis’s latest work that we get an extremely caustic blend of black and sludge to make for something damn near unforgettable.
When looking at such works like this it’s a wonder to me as to just how exactly they even come to life when the closes thing that I can think of to this is Full of Hell, and even then that’s a hell of a stretch. I was not prepared whatsoever for what Lord Mantis brings to the table for this release, and it’s with every fiery ounce of “Universal Death Church” that we see just how immense and nasty a concoction of black and sludge metal can really be. There isn’t a single piece of this album that isn’t truly caustic even in its dullest moments (which even then could peel concrete if it felt like it) which is surprising no matter which way you slice it, and even then Lord Mantis somehow manages to throw in one damn good helping of riffs after another as the entirety of this record surprises you with just exactly how voracious it is even right from the beginning! There’s no preparation, warning, signal, sign, or even a devious little smile that’s no more than a tad off-putting. There’s nothing but sheer chaos as soon as you enter the undeniably maniacal confines that “Universal Death Church” is constantly throwing your way as if each track was a deadly, fire-wreathed and poison-dipped spear that’s all but meant to melt your flesh away as though it were ice in a volcano. And, somehow, it’s an absolute joy to be blown away by all eight of these tracks as not one of them leaves any chance of survival much less leaving prisoners.
Very few albums can accomplish being so voracious in their sonic range and come out sounding wondrous from start to finish, but Lord Mantis has definitely achieved just that in every single track that they bring to the table here in immaculate detail. There’s nothing about what “Universal Death Church” sets upon us that isn’t infectious down to the last fiery note, and it’s quite the wonder to hear no matter what angle you look at it from.
LISTEN to “Universal Death Church” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Lord Mantis on Facebook here.