Here comes the ugly again. Considering that LORD MANTIS is a Chicago band with current and former members of AVICHI, NACTHYMYSTIUM, and INDIAN, as well as the fact that über-producer Sanford Parker is involved, it should come as no surprise that "Spawning the Nephilim" isn't just another pretty face in the crowd.
Dubbed blackened sludge, "Spawning the Nephilim" sounds like a war between BLACK COBRA and KHANATE. There are blackened slivers (not the least of which is the hellish atmosphere) and semi-melodic nuances here and there, but this is primarily tempo-varied down-tuned sludge pummel that bends subtlety over a jailhouse railing and makes it LORD MANTIS' bitch. Largely up-tempo with more pace shifts and compositional variegation than the standard sludge album, the 35 minutes of "Spawning the Nephilim" may actually keep even a casual fan's interest for the duration. Just don't expect to be whistling a happy tune at any point along the way. The song "Lord Mantis" is the embodiment of the anti-formula, shape shifting into choppy rhythms and pure bludgeon, and inclusive of screams that could only emanate from the bowels of Hell. That guitarists Andrew Markuszewski and Greg Gomer, and bassist Charlie Fell all contribute vocals helps to widen the sound; just listen to the three styles employed on the title track, none of which are the least bit soothing.
Combined with Mike Miller's outstanding artwork throughout the entire booklet (the inside foldout is phenomenal), "Spawning the Nephilim" is the stuff of nightmares. I'd stop short of calling it an all-out expansionist affair or something as seemingly absurd as "progressive sludge", but LORD MANTIS do offer more than your average tar swimmers. They've also harnessed the evil and made it work for them, which in turn works for me. Time to turn the lights down low and get ugly with it.