ALBUM REVIEW: Lord Mantis – Universal Death Church

It’s no secret that Charlie Fell has issues. Anyone reading the few interviews he gave to promote Death Mask (Profound Lore Records), his last outing with Chicago’s Lord Mantis prior to his acrimonious departure from the band, won’t fail to be staggered by some of the personal revelations feeding his lyrical contribution to that album. Coupled with the tragic loss of revered drummer Bill Bumgardner in 2016, it was hard to see a way for the soul of this truly disturbing entity to continue forward: yet here we are with Universal Death Church (Profound Lore Records), Fell back behind both bass and microphone and re-absorbed by the nucleus of Andrew Markuszewski, fellow returnee Ken Sorceron and honorary fifth member, vocalist Dylan O’Toole. Continue reading

Abigail Williams At Once Lounge

Abigail Williams, by Daniel Nyman Photography

Abigail Williams, by Daniel Nyman Photography

 

Abigail Williams 11-30-2016

At Once Lounge, Somerville, MA

All Photos By Daniel Nyman Photography Continue reading

Abigail Williams Books East Coast Tour With Wolvhammer and Amiensus

 

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US Black Metal leaders Abigail Williams have booked a headline tour of the east coast. Wolvhammer and Amiensus will act as direct support on all dates. Abigail Williams are working on a new album, due for release in 2017. Further info will be announced as it is available in the months ahead.  Continue reading

Video: Caricature – Stampede Lyric Video

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Ghost Cult brings you the new lyric video from New England’s Caricature today. ‘Stampede’ is a 27 minute long progressive metal epic about Caricature front man Joseph Spiller and his cat, Parmesan.  You can watch the video at this link or below:

The Stampede EP is available  for purchase from Caricature’s Bandcamp. Front man Joseph Spiller, who also produced the video and graphic design for the project, detailed the origin of the track and his relationship with Parmesan for Heavy Blog Is Heavy:

“Some people might be wondering why I made a song that is almost a half hour long about my cat. Well, he’s awesome. That’s why. Bands go out and write about a lot of stuff like quantum physics that they don’t actually understand, murders they would never commit, women/men they will never get up on, so why not pay tribute to a member of the family that gives everything he can at all times, had a rough start to life, and who’s story intertwines with my own?

I was really sick and in and out of the hospital/seeing doctors weekly/all around having a real dumpster fire of a time back in 2014 and start to finish there was over a year and a half where I was battling some complications from Crohn’s Disease that were further complicated by a not very ideal environment. I don’t remember a lot due to how sick I was and the different types of meds the doctors had me on, but I do remember hearing this tiny kitten in the middle of the road in front of my house crying as if his life depended on it who was blind and couldn’t walk. I was using the walls and my wife to hold myself up and get places, but even though I was home alone, I got myself outside to get him before a car hit him. From there it was the both of us fighting to get better. When I would pass out for 20 hours at a time, he would lay on me and watch over me then lick me to wake me up. I don’t remember a lot for a good 8 months, but I remember him.

I wanted to create an “Experience” track. Something that wasn’t just told by the lyrics but by the tone of the instruments and how they were being used; overall moods in the music. Having a song as epic as my cat, Parmesan was only fitting. The song turned into this 27+ minute jam. Long to the point where it doesn’t fit on our upcoming album The Fiction We’ve Become, so it only made sense to make it a stand alone release. Evan Sammons [Last Chance To Reason] had his hands full with the album plus running his own studio, So I took the reigns and played almost everything on this one and even built a custom 8 string guitar that i call the “Parmcatster” for this one. Gerry came in and played some awesome leads and killed it on the mix. We wanted it to sound clean, but not overly edited. Real people playing real music and to top it off, there are samples from videos that I took of Parmesan while he was growing up that we have sprinkled throughout the song. Ken Sorceron [Abigail Williams, The Accuser, Lord Mantis, Ex Aborted] came in and saved my ass at the end and made sure the master was sounding right too. We hope people enjoy this one and go home and give their furry friends a big hug.”

 

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Featuring Evan Sammons (Last Chance To Reason) on drums, ‘Stampede’ was produced and recorded by Spiller, mixed by guitarist Gerrard Vachon, and as has contributions from Ken Sorceron (Abigail Williams). It is the second new track to appear in advance of Caricature’s next full-length album,The Fiction We’ve Become due later in 2016.

Abigail Williams – The Accuser

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Bands changing direction is nothing new in Metal. The switch Pantera made from hairspray and spandex to shaven-headed Punch-You-In-The-Face Metal is well documented; in just two albums, Ministry made the jump from ’80s New Romantic electro-pop to Industrial noise, and after only one album, Darkthrone laid their Death Metal riffs to rest and slapped on the angry badger make-up instead.

While certain acts get to make their transitions a relatively damage-free experience, others aren’t quite so lucky, having to suffer accusations of bandwagon jumping and selling out, usually for years longer than necessary. Celtic Frost were met with ridicule when they stopped writing dark fantasy lyrics about emperors returning and wicked things procreating and turned to singing about cherry orchards and sleazy dancing instead (okay, they might actually have deserved it – bad example). Opinion on Opeth has been split due to their ongoing transition into a 1970s Prog band, Machine Head still bear the scars of their Nu-Metal years, and everyone and their dog has an opinion on how Metallica went from ‘Metal Militia’ to ‘Mama Said’.

Originally hailing from the grim and frostbitten plains of Phoenix, Arizona, Abigail Williams still find themselves trying to shed the stigma attached to the Metalcore leanings of debut Legend (Candlelight), an EP recorded nearly ten years ago. After its release, founding member Ken “Sorceron” Bergeron edged the band towards a more atmospheric style of Black Metal rather than continuing down the previous route. This, plus several major line-up changes didn’t go down too well in some quarters, and a reputation for bandwagon jumping has followed them around since.

Any possible question of whether this kind of silliness bothers the band (now based in Olympia, Washington), or if it even registers on their radar whatsoever is answered on new album The Accuser (Candlelight) with savage immediacy as opener ‘Path of Broken Glass’ begins with a dissonant melee of icy blastbeats, feedback and frantic guitars.

Nope. As entirely expected, they couldn’t care less.

Possibly one of their best songs to date, ‘The Cold Lines’ follows next, crawling into the shadowy corners of the room and lurking there with an almost 1970s feel at its black heart. ‘Of The Outer Darkness’ begins with more feedback, quickly launching into a wall of blastbeats, rasping vocals and slashing guitars, slowing down for a while before building up to a frenetic conclusion. The melancholic ‘Will, Wish and Desire’ follows with some nice lead work, while ‘Godhead’ begins powerfully but runs out of steam a little towards the end. ‘Forever Kingdom of Dirt’ does the opposite by starting fairly ordinarily but ending strongly, and ‘Lost Communion’ may be fairly straightforward but it’s also one of the album’s strongest moments with its savage opening and monstrously catchy middle section. Things take a slightly experimental turn with the darkly gothic closer ‘Nuummite” which sounds like somebody kept The Sisters of Mercy in a steel cage for a week, feeding them nothing but raw meat and bitterness.

Although The Accuser isn’t perfect – the slower sections hold the interest more than the occasionally one dimensional faster material, and there are a few moments when you have to remind yourself you’re not actually listening to Emperor – it does hang together neatly, and with more than enough twists and turns to keep you interested. Forget the naysayers. Abigail Williams could very well have delivered the best album of their career to date.

 

8.0/10

 

GARY ALCOCK

Former Lord Mantis Members Resurface As Missing

Missing. Photo Credit: Samantha Marble.

Missing. Photo Credit: Samantha Marble.

Following the news of Lord Mantis and its internal restructuring, the recently departed members have resurfaced as a new venture called Missing. The new collective was initiated by Charlie Fell (Abigail Williams, ex-Lord Mantis, ex-Avichi), Ken Sorceron (Abigail Williams, ex-Lord Mantis, ex-Aborted) and Jeff Wilson (Abigail Williams, Wolvhammer, Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium). They later brought in longtime collaborators and previous and current bandmates Jef Whitehead (Leviathan, Lurker Of Chalice, Twilight), Sanford Parker (Corrections House, Twilight, ex-Nachtmystium, ex-Minsk) and Fade Kainer (Statiqbloom, Theologian) into the mix.

Missing has already begun talks with studios and engineers to record their maiden works this Summer for release in the Fall months. Stand by for tour dates and additional info on the band’s 2015 plans for annihilation to be released in the weeks just ahead.

Lord Mantis Merges With Indian Members

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Chicago’s Lord Mantis has issued a statement in regards to lineup restructuring with the addition of new members and parting ways with several as well. Founding members and drummer Bill Bumbardner and lead guitarist Andrew Markuszewski (Avichi, ex-Nachtmystium) have brought in former Indian members, Will Lindsay (Anatomy Of Habit, Abigail Williams, ex-Indian, ex-Nachtmystium, ex-Wolves In The Throne Room) on bass, Dylan O’Toole (ex-Indian) on vocals, and Scott Shellhamer (American Heritage, ex-Mares Of Thrace) on guitars. Additionally, the band will also collaborate with former Lord Mantis member Greg Gomer who will contribute to the band’s upcoming new recorded works.

Lord Mantis has gone through a purgatory this winter but now steps out into the light again. This is part of the reason why the last tour with TITD had to be cut short and our appearance at Roadburn 2015 was cancelled. Now we have a new lineup in place.

Dylan O’Toole (who has contributed lyrically and also performs vocals in the studio on songs for the past two records Death Mask and Pervertor) is no longer an unofficial 5th member of the band. He is now the vocalist. Will Lindsay (who also played guitar in Indian with Dylan and Bill Bumgardner) is now the bassist. Will also had a guest spot on Death Mask in the studio. To say there hasn’t been a major crossover between the Chicago bands Lord Mantis and Indian over the years would be a ridiculous statement. Indian and Lord Mantis shared the same rehearsal room together at Superior Street Studios in Chicago since the devil knows when. Scott Shellhamer, musician and artist of the band American Heritage, has also joined on guitars. The original founding member of Lord Mantis from 2005 Bill Bumgardner remains along with lead guitarist Andrew Markuszewski who has been in the band since 2008. Greg Gomer (also one of the two founding members along with Bill) hasn’t been in Lord Mantis since Pervertor which is the last record he was a part of. Greg has planned on contributing as a guest spot on the future recording currently in plan. Ken Sorceron and Charlie Fell are no longer members of Lord Mantis.

The ship has righted itself and in a very natural fashion. Even with the new lineup at this time, Lord Mantis will not be appearing at Roadburn and the subsequent tour in Europe.

An EP is being worked on already to be recorded this Spring. There are no shows being booked at this time until further notice. More news on the EP and further plans for 2015 by Lord Mantis is soon to come.

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