Interview: Lord Mantis’ New Album Is Not For The Faint Hearted

Interview with vocalist and bassist Charlie Fell  |  By Brandon Ringo

For whatever reason, the city of Chicago has been churning out some incredibly vile, hateful jams lately. Part of the credit goes to mega-producer Sanford Parker who specializes in crafting insane soundscapes. The most recent slab of pure filth to leak out of Parker’s studio comes from scene vets Lord Mantis whose new record Death Mask continues where the band’s last album Pervertor left off, unleashing a hellish fury of blackened sludge. Death Mask, along with its gruesome and semi-controversial album art, is not for the faint of heart. We caught up with singer and bassist Charlie Fell to find out why.

Lord Mantis’ sound brings to mind words like depressing, hateful, and depraved. What goes into the writing and recording process to achieve this sound?

It’s not something that can be manufactured. It’s a combination of your mental state, your environment, and how far you’re willing to go down the rabbit hole. The only way to pull out this level of darkness is to go there. All the albums have been made under different conditions. I was a lot more together when we made Pervertor and it’s a cool album, but Death Mask is REAL. This is what the bottom sounds like.

Are there any particular books, movies, or records that help inspire your creative process?

Yeah, actually I’m a big movie guy. [Guitarist/vocalists] Drew [Markuszewski], Ken [Sorceron], and I were all watching Beyond the Black Rainbow every night when we were making this. It actually inspired a lot of the moog and synths on the album. Event Horizon was the movie we watched with Pervertor, and Scanners for Spawning the Nephilim.

Your lyrics are brutal. Are they based on personal experiences?

This album is all painfully personal, and there are some pretty harsh, angry lyrics. I didn’t censor myself at all. There’s no political agenda or message I’m pushing. It’s all pure intensity.

Do you dig deep into a dark place to create this content?

Most of the time, [the lyrics] are just there. Lyrics came real easy this time around. Things have been so incredibly fucked for me that there was no need to go into some negative mindset. The way things were going, I couldn’t get any more negative.

You’re from Chicago, so I feel obligated to ask this: if you made a Lord Mantis burger at Kuma’s corner, what toppings would best represent the band’s sound?

Heroin, Cocaine, Atavan, and some Tylenol PM.

Pick up Death Mask here:

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