Mar 082016

Lord Mantis-Nice Teeth Whore


(Andy Synn reviews the new EP by Lord Mantis.)

Here at NCS we really try our best to stay out of all the inter- and intra- band drama that goes on within the metal scene, and that goes double when we’re friendly/familiar with some of the parties involved.

Still, I have to acknowledge that it’s practically impossible to talk about the new Lord Mantis EP without addressing the acrimonious, and very public, split that occurred in the band’s ranks not long after the release of 2014’s phenomenal Death Mask, with both Charlie Fell and Ken Sorceron decisively cutting ties with the group, even as drummer Bill Baumgardner and guitarist Andrew Markuszewski vowed to continue on without them.

As a result of this division, lines were drawn, sides were chosen, old alliances torn asunder… with fans on both sides of the divide pulled (willingly or otherwise) into one very un-civil war.

But, despite all this, the one question which matters more than any other is… how does the music on Nice Teeth Whore stack up to the band’s previous releases? Continue reading »

Dec 312014


Here we have Part 8 of our continuing list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

Since this is the last day of the year, it seems like a good time to take stock of our progress on this list. Only problem is, I have no fuckin’ idea where we are. After today I’ll have rolled out 17 songs, but I don’t know whether we’re halfway through or a third of the way or only a quarter deep. So let’s just keep going, shall we?


In a word, the latest album by Germany’s InfestusThe Reflecting Void — was (and is) stunning. Andy Synn concluded his review of the album with these words:

““The beautiful, unforgettable cover art embodies the album so well – this is music from the darkest depths of the human mind, a black, malignant tumour of pain and anguish which spreads its tendrils widely to encompass a host of dark emotions and warped musical influences, creating a truly immersive, unforgettable experience.” Continue reading »

Dec 052014


I’m still on the east coast of the US working day and night for the old fucking day job and have had almost no time to search out new new music and write about it — until last night, when I did have enough time to round up this big collection of recommended new videos. Some of these you may have seen already since I wasn’t able to pounce on them with my usual alacrity and grace, but I’m willing to bet big money you haven’t seen all of them.

P.S.  The end is near — I’ll be back in Seattle by Sunday, and things should get a little closer to normal around here after that.  (Thank you, please hold your applause so that others may enjoy the videos.)


You’d think the mighty Behemoth would have done a live video before now, but this new one for “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” off The Satanist turns out to be their first ever. The video, which was filmed by Grupa 13, is really, really well done. Of course, the song is a blasphemous killer. Continue reading »

Apr 292014

In some quarters, Jef Whitehead’s cover to the new album (Death Mask) by Chicago’s Lord Mantis has stirred up controversy — including in the comment thread to our own review of the album, where the band’s Charlie Fell joined the conversation to provide his own response to the controversy. Of course, controversy and metal aren’t strangers. In fact, one might argue that controversy is at the heart of metal. In fact, one might go further and argue that metal really doesn’t give a shit (and shouldn’t give a shit) about social agendas, political issues, or trying to move society in one direction or another.

That seems to be the general point of a short but potent piece by our fellow blogger Full Metal Attorney that appeared yesterday. In that piece, with the title “Metal Doesn’t Give A Shit”, he uses the controversy over Whitehead’s cover as a jumping-off point for an opinion piece in which he responds to the claim that metal should become “a truly counter-cultural resistance against mainstream society” — and I quote in part below:

“No, I’m sorry. Metal doesn’t care. Metal is horror films, snuff films, shock jocks, and pulp in music form. It has no higher purpose, and no social agenda.

Metal isn’t left. It isn’t right. It’s up yours. Dee Snider didn’t dress up like a woman because he was “ahead of his time” on queer issues, he did it to piss people off. Continue reading »

Mar 282014

I spent some time last night searching for new music worth recommending. Found quite a lot. Damaged my ear drums in the process, but oh so worth it. (They were so screwed up beforehand that it didn’t really matter. As for you, play this stuff loud enough to cause pain, so I don’t feel lonely in my deafness.)

There’s a lot of music in here — I could easily have spread it across five posts today — but there probably won’t be many other posts on this Friday because I’m on the road again. So, take your sweet time with it.


We already reviewed Death Mask. We’ve heard it all, but most of you haven’t. Some of you will want to run away from it, some of you will eat it up like whatever it is you can’t stop eating even when you know you should. I’m in the latter category — it has made an indelible mark, as deep as all the black tattoos that beautify my limbs. Continue reading »

Mar 252014

(Yesterday we posted BadWolf’s review of Lord Mantis’ forthcoming album, Death Mask. The review led to some interesting exchanges in the Comment section, most of which revolved around the album’s controversial cover art by Jef Whitehead. BadWolf now follows up with this post.)

Here at NCS, we are blessed with a great stable of readers and commentators. For the most part, you guys respond with decorum and thoughtfulness, even when we cover transgressive and confrontative music, like the kind we covered yesterday in my review of Lord Mantis’ new album, Death Mask. That album features a striking piece of cover art, which some people have claimed is transphobic, or otherwise vile toward transgendered persons. That artwork was produced by another controversial member of the metal community, Jef Whitehead of Leviathan, among other projects.

In that thread, Charlie Fell, bassist and vocalist in Lord Mantis, spoke up. And he had this to say:

“The art work wasn’t meant to offend it was made to be a portrait of myself destructiveness as well as my minds eye view of my humanity and sexuality. The last album also featured a transgendered Christ on it and its been a theme in our cover art through out the bands existence. Im not always the best with words and come off a bit crass and insensitive to some people but I have no problems or prejudices with any race, gender (cis, trans or otherwise) or sexual orientation. Continue reading »

Mar 242014

(In this post NCS writer BadWolf reviews the new album by Chicago’s Lord MantisDeath Mask).

There is something deeply wrong with the minds and hearts of Charlie FellAndrew Markuszewski, Bill Bumgardner, and Ken Sorceron, who together form Lord Mantis. I’m not sure how we didn’t know before—each of these musicians has made waves in the underground for quite some time as members of Nachtmystium, Avichi, Indian, and Abigail Williams, among other bands. But there’s just something deeply upsetting about the music they make together as Lord Mantis on their new album, Death Mask.

At this point, people probably know the Chicago-based black-sludge outfit best for their filthy taste in cover art. 2012’s critically-acclaimed album Pervertor featured a limbless, vaginal Jesus being gang-penetrated by some Lovecraftian tongue beasties. Death Mask might be even worse, sporting a sickly-green big-bushed hermaphrodite sewing a death mask (get it?) onto his/her own face. The image has already stirred some controversy (see this and this). For my money, I feel the artwork has about as much artistic depth of content as Lady Gaga getting covered in vomit. As a PR move, however, it’s adept, since Death Mask is such an inaccessible album that it requires some sort of outside hook to get listeners interested.

I have no idea what they’re putting in the waters of Lake Michigan, but it seems like this year has marked release after release of well and truly unsettling music, including Catharsis Absolute by Avichi (a solo project by Markuszewski), and From All Purity by Indian. Death Mask might be the best record of the bunch—it’s the one I’ve revisited most, at least, and it probably has the most hooks. But make no mistake, this is a difficult album to listen to. Almost the whole of the record comes coated in distortion and noise—industrial effects pepper the background, while several digital filters mask the blackened shriek vocals that populate Death Mask. Continue reading »

Mar 032014

This round-up of news and new music is skewed toward the especially dark, depraved, nihilistc end of the extreme metal spectrum, hence the name “Shades of Black”, even though only two of the bands march under the black metal banner.


Once you’ve seen Jef Whitehead’s cover for the new album by Chicago’s Lord Mantis, you really don’t forget it. I splashed it across the top of our site when it became public about two weeks ago, though back then I hadn’t yet heard any of the music from Death Mask. Now I have, and man, it makes a scarring impression, too.

The song that premiered last Friday is the album’s searing opening track, “Body Choke”. Three things about it stand out. First, there’s the visceral pounding of the rhythm section, with Charlie Fell’s bass and Bill Bumgardner’s drumming interacting like men at work on a demolition project. Second, there are Fell’s vocals, which sound like a man drowning in sulfuric acid. And third, there are the doomed, devastating, degraded riffs; they create a choking, noxious atmosphere.

You will want to headbang. You may also want to open a vein. Continue reading »

Feb 182014

If Facebook had a problem with one nipple on Benighted’s album cover, I can barely imagine their reaction to this baby (I’m thinking heart attack, stroke, and rectal prolapse all at once). It’s the demented cover art by tattooist/musician Jef Whitehead (Leviathan, Twilight) for Death Mask, the forthcoming album by Chicago’s Lord Mantis. Today, Profound Lore disclosed additional info about the album, which is on my highly anticipated list.

Even before seeing the latest news, the album was already on my mind, based on a brief conversation I had with the band’s bassist/vocalist Charlie Fell following a stellar Abigail Williams set in Seattle last Friday. Fell is the drummer for Abigail Williams on that band’s current tour, and in a turnabout-is-fair-play kind of arrangement, Abigail Williams’ frontman/guitarist Ken Sorceron is the newest member of Lord Mantis. Rounding out the Lord Mantis line-up are guitarist/vocalist Andrew Markuszewski (Avichi) and drummer Bill Bumgardner (Indian).

2012’s Pervertor was horrifying. I shudder to think what this particular foursome have accomplished on the new album.

The additional info disclosed today, in addition to the cover art and album title, is that Death Mask will be released on April 29 and that it consists of 54 minutes of disturbing, nihilistic punishment recorded by Sanford Parker, who seems to record almost everything worth hearing that emanates from Chicago. Continue reading »

Nov 162012

(Guest contributor Kaptain Carbon is getting a head start on year-end listmania with a most amusing review of albums he missed earlier in the year. Despite the fact that I laughed out loud on numerous occasions, I haven’t forgotten that the Kaptain owes me a Russian Nesting Doll. Some things you don’t forget.)

Well, I am now a guest in another person’s house. I should take my shoes off and pretend I eat with my pants on. No Clean Singing put out a call for entries and usually I would be hosting board game night in my basement over at Tape Wyrm but now I am here. What a lovely house you have. I really love your collection of Russian Nesting Dolls. Oh dear, I think this one may be broken. I’ll set it down right here.

2012 is almost done and we will soon all be judged before the great cosmic eye. Before our fate is weighed on the gilded scales at an altar of ivory and blood, we all have to go through our end of the year lists. Yes, before the inevitable reckoning, where December is consumed in an omnipresence hellfire, we have to make our top 10s of 2012. Now, we all know it will probably go to the new Marilyn Manson record, but there is also the matter of the stacks of records which now make a castle on your coffee table. Look at this mess. Look at all of this stuff you said you were going to listen to but never did. You are a horrible human. I found this Abigail Williams record in the vegetable crisper.

I recently went through my library and pulled out all of the 2012 records I meant to review but never got around to doing so because I am a terrible metal-hating human being who secretly loves everything which you hate. I just want to make sure I did not miss anything, so I am going to go through this pile of laundry and rifle through its contents before throwing it back on the ground. Sure, things will still be messy, but there was production involved.

It is time to revisit the forgotten, at least by me, and the never-heard of 2012. Sure, No Clean Singing is giving me a wonderful opportunity to share some of my work with you, but let’s be honest, I woke up late and I am doing my homework while running to class. Thank you No Clean Singing for this opportunity and fuck you, you motherfucking stupid cocksucking alarm WHERE ARE MY KEYS? Continue reading »