Lord Mantis – Death Mask (2014), NTW (2016)

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Lord MantisDeath Mask (Profound Lore Records, 29 April 2014)

 

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Lord MantisNTW (New Density Records, 29 April 2016)

 

In early 2015, the whole world was shocked and saddened to learn that Chicagoan misanthropic miscreants Indian were calling it quits. Maybe “the whole world” is a sight exaggeration, but for myself and everyone I know, it was difficult news — especially since it came just a year after the band had released what was unquestionably their best album to date.

But then that blow was softened a bit almost immediately after, when another huge announcement shook the metal world: that closely-related Chicago band Lord Mantis had parted ways with some of its members, leaving only founding drummer Bill Bumgardner and Andrew Markuszewski who had been the lead guitarist for nearly all of that band’s releases. Augmenting this newly depleted line-up would be most of the folks who had just left Indian — in addition to Bumgardner who had also been playing drums in that band for years, ex-Indian guitarist Will Lindsay (also a member of Anatomy of Habit) would be joining on bass, and former Indian guitarist/vocalist Dylan O’Toole (who has also appeared as part of the Wrekmeister Harmonies ensemble) would now be handling Lord Mantis vocal duties. And finally, rounding out the line-up by joining Markuszewski on guitar, Scott Shellhamer of yet another great Chicago band, American Heritage.

This shakeup didn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who’d been paying attention to the goings-on surrounding Mantis; even in the press release for their last album, 2014’s Death Mask, it mentioned rumblings of turbulence among the band’s members at that time. And the new additions seemed like a perfectly logical choice, as not only had these guys all known each other and been friends for years, but Lindsay and O’Toole had each made contributions to the band previously, including guest appearances on Death Mask.

But now, finally, the result of all of these moving pieces has come to fruition, as the first recording by the new Lord Mantis is being released tomorrow — exactly two years (to the day) after Death Mask, the band’s own New Density will unleash the EP NTW. In this article we’ll take a look at the new EP as well as the album that preceded it. And for those who would like to learn more about how all these changes have affected the band from the perspective of its members, don’t miss this interview where they’ve answered some questions provided by members of Slaves BC!

 

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Lord Mantis Interviewed By Slaves BC!!

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Lord Mantis interviewed by Slaves BC

 

So tomorrow — Friday the 29th — the new Lord Mantis EP NTW will be released, the band’s first recorded material since their big line-up shakeup (and merger with Indian) last year. You can read all about those changes, and take a look at that new EP as well as their previous album, 2014’s Death Mask, all right here. But beyond just reading about my thoughts and reactions to this new and old material, perhaps you might be interested in learning more about what’s been going on with the band — in their own words?

 

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Grizzlor – Cycloptic (2015), Rhin – Passenger (2016)

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GrizzlorCycloptic (Hex Records, 28 October 2015)

 

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RhinPassenger (Grimoire Records, 06 May 2016)

 

Hey — remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about a split record by Barren Womb from Norway and New Haven’s Grizzlor? Maybe you missed it because it was only a couple short paragraphs, buried among reviews of two Bardus albums. Whatever the case, in that article (which you can find right here), I pointed out how the two songs contributed by the Connecticutian band were nasty and punky but also just catchy enough to make one want to check out more of their stuff. Well I didn’t realize it at the time, but there wouldn’t be a long wait to be able to do just that — in fact, technically it was a negative amount of time, since that article was published almost a year after the split with Barren Womb was released, and in the meantime — about seven months later, but still a few months before I wrote the article — Grizzlor had already put out another 7″ record.

Today I’m going to discuss that record with you, and I’ll also throw in some words about a brand-new album — due out next Friday from Grimoire Records — by Rhin from Shepherdstown (a small town at the easternmost tip of West Virginia, near the border with Maryland and Virginia). As an added bonus for those readers who live near Philly, Brooklyn, or New Haven, these two bands will be performing in your city this weekend! Further details on those shows will be found at the end of the article. But first, let’s talk about some music …

 

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Nekrogoblikon – Power (2013), Dethlehem – Destroyers of the Realm (2015)

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NekrogoblikonPower (self-released, 27 August 2013)

 

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DethlehemDestroyers of the Realm (self-released, 06 January 2015)

 

Hey, folks. Today’s theme is going to be fantasy-RPG-inspired metal. I know that sounds oddly specific, but there are a couple bands in that realm I’d like to discuss, and they both just happen to be playing a show together later this week. First, Californian horde Nekrogoblikon, as you may have guessed, write songs that are based on goblins — those devilish inhabitants of folklore, who in this instance resemble the nasty green creatures of Warhammer and later fantasy games, more so than the bumbling little muppets from Labyrinth, for example. The band has been around for a few years — the EP I’ll soon talk about was released nearly three years ago, in fact — but since they’re currently on a raid across the country, it seemed like as good of a time as any to share their music with you today. Nekrogoblikon‘s tour will be storming through Pittsburgh in just a few days (accompanied by Urizen from Fort Worth), and when it does, rest assured that a ragtag band of local heroes will be ready for them.

Regular readers of this website are already familiar with Pittsburgh’s own Dethlehem, perhaps from the time we did an interview with them, or from any number of other times the band has been mentioned here. For those who somehow managed to miss out on these guys previously, imagine a group of musicians who have gathered together in precisely the way a typical Dungeons & Dragons adventuring party would: someone who has good fighting skills, someone who knows magic, people who can specialize in lead guitar or rhythm guitar or bass guitar, someone who is good at sneaking around quietly and gathering information or stealing things, folks with vocal skills and drumming know-how, and so on. Basically, a group of people whose strengths and weaknesses can complement each other, and who can work together harmoniously.

 

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Bloodred – Nemesis, Sig:Ar:Tyr – Northen (2016)

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BloodredNemesis (self-released, 08 April 2016)

 

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Sig:Ar:TyrNorthen (Hammerheart Records, 15 April 2016)

 

Hey there, ladies and gentlemen of the internet! I hope you’re having an okay start to your week. Typically I’d be talking about how Mondays are so terrible or whatever, but truthfully, I realize that things could be much worse. Around the middle of last week, I experienced a little bit of a minor medical emergency — hospital visit, a couple days away from work, that sort of thing. Everything around here got really disrupted and it kind of sucked, and I can honestly say I’m actually glad to be back to the normal daily routine, however awful and soul-crushing it may be.

Okay, with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the music! I’ve had to shuffle things around a bit since my schedule got so thrown off over the past several days, but we’ll do what we can to get back on track and get to sharing the albums and other news you people need to hear about. Today let’s take a look at a pair of releases from earlier this month, each by a one-member band (although each had some assistance on these recordings), and each having a Viking connection. It has been a month since the last time we talked about Viking metal — don’t forget that Amon Amarth are still in the middle of their North American tour, with a few weeks left — and it seemed like it might be fun to do it again. One of these albums actually includes a reference to the same source material as the Jomsviking album, and the other deals with ancient Viking settlements in North America …

 

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Free Show Today: Heavy Metal Monessen 3

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Heavy Metal Monessen 3

at the Monessen City Park Amphitheater

1918 Grand Blvd, Monessen PA 15062

Saturday 23 April 2016 | 1:00 pm | all ages | FREE

 
Good morning, everyone! For those Pittsburgh-area folks out there, the weather looks a bit gloomy and chilly at the moment, but on the news they’re saying it’s supposed to get sunnier and more pleasant as the day goes on — which is perfect, because this afternoon and evening will be the third annual installment of Heavy Metal Monessen, the FREE outdoor concert that includes a wide variety of local metal talent at the amphitheater in the heart of the city park in Monessen (Mon Valley, Westmoreland County, PA)!

 
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Laster – De Verste Verte is Hier, Sordide – La France a Peur (2014); Cantique Lépreux – Cendres Célestes (2016)

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LasterDe Verste Verte is Hier (Dunkelheit Produktionen, 01 November 2014)

 

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SordideLa France a Peur (Avantgarde Music, 21 December 2014)

 

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Cantique LépreuxCendres Célestes (Eisenwald, 18 March 2016)

 

My calendar is lying to me, I am sure of this. How could it possibly be only Tuesday, when it already feels like this week has lasted about sixteen years?? I have no reasonable or logical explanation. Anyway, as I sit here watching the seconds creep by, I might as well get something written to share with you folks. How does some atmospheric black metal sound? What about albums by three different bands, who approach “atmosphere” in three different ways? And — rather peculiarly — what about a unifying theme between all three albums that just might make you want to get up out of your chair and dance? What if all these questions were rhetorical, because no matter what your answer, that’s what you’re getting anyway?

 

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