Lord Mantis – Nice Teeth Whore

Lord Mantis is a changed beast. After the band released their masterpiece Death Mask, front-man and bassist Charlie Fell was dropped from the roster along with Abigail Williams mastermind Ken Sorceron. There are certain bands who can go through line-up changes and come out on the other side unscathed, but, Fell and Sorceron were key components in the creation of Death Mask. Aesthetically, their latest EP Nice Teeth Whore seems to follow in the footsteps of its older sibling (NSFW album art and all) but aesthetics can only carry a record so far before it has to show you what it is really made of.

Nice Teeth Whore, which will be referred to as NTW for the rest of this review, isn’t a second Death Mask. This is not a problem in and of itself, as there are plenty of bands that haven’t made the same album twice, but the standard of quality that the previous album presented has been lowered a bit for this extended play. The music is not bad, but it’s not as gripping or harrowing. Death Mask was an album that you could only listen to so many times before it wore you out and you had to take a break from listening to it for a while, which is maybe why a listener wouldn’t return to it very frequently. NTW is an EP that just does not have a whole lot to return to or get worked up over. However, there are moments and pieces of NTW that do warrant at least a listen or two.

The opening ‘SIG Safer’ has an almost ritual like quality to it, with repeated background chants of the word “safer”, repetitive riffs and driving percussion. It goes through a few tempo changes throughout the track, but overall the pace is rather quick and it makes for a great opener. This song also lets you know that new vocalist Dylan O’Toole (Ex-Indian) is one of the best parts of this new incarnation of Lord Mantis. His throat shredding screech is a recognizable trait that carries on the tortured spirit of the band. The title track ‘NTW’ opens up with him quietly whispering and hissing over the continued ritualistic percussion while menacing electronic impulses that seem to expand as they enter your ear are introduced underneath. The second half of the track sees an interesting mini-solo, but it’s one of the only parts of the second half that really sticks.

‘Semblances’ is slower than ‘SIG Safer’, but carries on its sense of dread and acts as sort of splash of cold water to the face after ‘NTW’. The track alternates between the musical equivalent of a sigh and a sharp, pained yelp which makes you feel like you’re going up and down with the changes. The basslines in the latter half are fantastic and add a lot of emotion to the song. Finally, you come to the closer ‘Final Division’. This track grinds on and sees Dylan shining even more, with his odd accentuation of certain sounds or lyrics sitting atop this instrumental that just won’t stop pounding at your eardrums. This track actually reminds me of Death Mask‘s closer ‘Three Crosses’ a bit because as it heads toward its end, it sounds like the guitars are sighing and releasing this negative energy they’ve been carrying on for the duration of the recording. Unlike the sighs in ‘Three Crosses’ however, you don’t get pummeled and swallowed whole afterwards. You’re just left to sit with them as they fade out.

For any other band, NTW would be a pretty great release and a worthy addition to a discography. For the almighty Lord Mantis however, this release signifies a slight drop in quality. This will tide listeners over, but hopefully the next album has more elements to be excited about that are worth returning to. The band have the components to do something great again, they just need to find their balance with this new line-up. Until then, Lord Mantis may have to become Baron Mantis instead.

Lord Mantis’ Nice Teeth Whore gets…

3/5






Comments

  1. lennymccall says:

    The band shake up was major and Fell and Sorceron were obviously big components of the success of Death Mask. BUT…O’Toole has been just as stellar IMO on the two (only…) Indian records and I was not too worried about this new line up with him on the mic. Sig Safer took two listens before I was 100% on board, but oh man am I on board now. Just bummed this is so short and that we’ve heard nothing out of the new project Fell is putting together.
    I know about Cobalt but have yet to really give that a chance.

    1. anesthesiac says:

      You should really give the new Cobalt a chance, if you still haven’t. Friendly reminder that it is fantastic. ;)

      1. lennymccall says:

        Funny you should mention it. I finally did about two months ago and oh man! It will probably be my #1 record of the year. It’s all I listen to. Thanks!

        1. anesthesiac says:

          Yeah man, easily in my top 5 this year. Charlie’s vocals are siiiick. Cant wait to see them in Atl this Sept!

  2. Evan Roche says:

    Man, I really, really loved Indian. This is good for what it is for sure, but it’s not for me.