And the saga of Chicago black and sludge continues. From the ashes of ex-Abigail Williams, including Charlie Fell (Lord Mantis, Missing), rises a new EP from the aptly-named Negative Mantra. With Charlie on drums, Jeff Wilson on guitar, and John Porada on vocals, bass, and guitar; these three songs are guaranteed to ruin your meditation/yoga session. With gusto.
From the outset of “A Hymn of Disappointment,” this struck me as the most black metal of the related projects I was familiar with. There is plenty 2nd wave akin to a bassier Darkthrone, right down to the Celtic Frost worship of the almighty “Ungh!” Vocals have that righteous Bergen tone and reverb, but more importantly, a great command of the recording space. The relentless tremolo and great use of melody and atmosphere is right at home with other 2015 releases from Murg, Taake, and Corpus Christii.
However, Negative Mantra still has the hard impact of Charlie's sludgier projects. Dark landscapes shift and churn into grim abominations. A gritty guitar solo will rear its head before turning into an excellent head-bobbing doom riff. The bass sounds like a possessed garbage disposal. Tracks know how to progress into truly epic moments like the closing crescendo of “Unbearable.” The building, ominous qualitites would likely also appeal to fans of the latest Deuil release.
So if you like any of these bands, or fusions of black and sludge, pick up Negative Mantra today as a Name Your Price download. It was more than worth it as both a great listen and something to hold me over as I await the Missing debut and next Cobalt release. It's a good year