Lord Mantis - Pervertor
Candlelight Records
Blackened Sludge
7 songs (46:39)
Release year: 2012
Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Charles
What an album cover. A bloated, man-boobed Christ, decaying on the cross whilst being sexually abused by the serpentine tongues of skeletal apparitions. The music herein feels a lot like an attempt to match the sheer over-the-top grotesquery of that image musically, drawing a membership from a couple of the more celebrated corners of America’s extreme music scene in order to do so. Founder member Bill Bumgardner (alongside Greg Gomer) can also be found in much-admired doomies Indian, and he is joined by at least a couple of members of Nachtmystium, including the latter’s session drummer Charlie Fell, here transplanted to bass and lead vocals.

Such line-up ins and outs are tedious, but they serve in this case to give you a neat encapsulation of the sound of Pervertor. This, indeed, takes the oily black metal guitars and vocals associated with Nachtmystium, particularly Fell’s voice, which has a very similar timbre here to Blake Judd’s, slows the tempos down, and underpins them with the kind of thudding percussion beloved of US sludge bands. It is, in a sense, like a much gnarlier cousin to the last Twilight record (it’s produced by the same guy too, man-about-town Sanford Parker). Its seven tracks creak and groan through suffocatingly heavy expanses of brutally minimalistic sludge riffs and nihilistic squawking.

And at times this is bloody good. Favourite tracks here would be Vile Divinity, whose worming chromatic riffs plunge odiously into an almost-strutting groove; or the shout-a-long nihilism of Ritual Killer, which cycles round the cudgelling rhythms of its central vocal line until a bleak climax is reached. In fact, these ghastly, chanting pseudo-anthems are a trick the album pulls a few times- most notably in the authentically frightening closing track The Whip and the Body. Not much really changes over the course of the record. Whilst At the Mouth starts out like one of the more orthodox moments on the Assassins records, for example, it ends up as a swirling sump of sludgy tension and gibberish vocals (at one point sounding like a black metal profanation of the “coo coo ca choo” lyric from The Beatles’s I Am the Walrus- oddly the second time I have referenced this song in the last three weeks).

Simply, this is a dank, oppressive record, which deserves the ears of both USBM admirers and sludge fans in search of new shades of darkness.

Killing Songs :
Vile Divinity, Ritual Killer, The Whip and the Body
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Lord Mantis that we have reviewed:
Lord Mantis - NTW (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Lord Mantis - Death Mask reviewed by Neill and quoted 87 / 100
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