Dylan O’Toole – Vocals
Andrew Markuszewski – Guitar
Bill Bumgardner (August 22nd 1981 – October 9th 2016 RIP) – Drums
Alletta Ergun – Bass
Greg Gomer – Guitar
Charlie Fell – Vocals/Bass
Ken Sorceron – Guitar
Will Lindsay – Bass
Scott Shellhamer – Guitar
Lord Mantis took root in the cornfields of Illinois in early 2005 as a two piece featuring Bill Bumgardner on drums and Greg Gomer on guitar and vocals. Initially it began as an homage to their favorite bands at the time including Meshuggah, Mastodon, Helmet, and Ministry. Using an unique low tuning, gradually a new sound began to emerge in their writing. Much of the themes at that time were based off of mind control experiments, reptilian agendas, & sexual deviances.
After a few years the band was looking for something more and moved to Chicago with their new material. Soon after Bumgardner met Charlie Fell who joined the band on bass and main vocal duties with Gomer. They assembled several songs based off of material Bill and Gomer were working on and recorded the Period Face EP.
It was during this time that Fell met Andrew Markuszewski through his black metal band Avichi. At the time, Markuszewski was pressing & distributing music out of DeKalb, IL.
Soon afterwards everyone hit it off and Markuszewski joined on lead guitar while adding additional vocals. Lord Mantis started to tour in support of Period Face as a four piece. This is also at the time when the band began their studio relationship with Chicago’s own Sanford Parker (VOIVOD, YOB, ZOROASTER). Parker would soon engineer their first full-length album Spawning the Nephilim, released in 2009 on Seventh Rule. So would start the evolution of what would later be termed by editors and fans “blackened sludge”.
After touring, the band’s sonic assault took a new leap into a darker, more developed, and much more serious world lyrically and compositionally. This would become perfectly reflected in their follow-up full-length titled Pervertor. Dylan O’Toole (Indian) also joined the band in the studio at this point, wrote lyrics, and sang two tracks on the album titled “At the Mouth” and “The Whip and the Body” which became the staple themes for the band from there on. Engineered once again by Parker, Pervertor was released on Candlelight Records in 2012. After Pervertor’s release, the band parted ways with Gomer for professional reasons and without animosity.
Pervertor marked a turning point in the life and work of the band. Pervertor’s artwork featured an “exceptionally unnerving cover which one has to see to believe” (Invisible Oranges. 2012.4.6). All the artwork on the record is the product of artist Justin Bartlett. Regarding Pervertor, “Rarely do we get the pleasure of hearing something that is as driving and tonally heavy, yet as eerily mesmerizing in its broad song structures.” (lambgoat.com. 2012.2.26).
The year is now 2013 and the bands popularity is steadily increasing. They are invited to play highly revered Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands, and Lord Mantis sign a new label deal with Profound Lore Records to release Death Mask. While working on the album, Fell expressed his desire to fulfill more of a front man role for the band to which Bumgardner and Markuszewski gave the green light. Up till then, interviews were handled on a 50/50 basis between Markuszewski and Fell.
After most of the album had been written and arranged, the band brought Kenneth Bergeron, also known as Ken Sorceron, into its fold on guitar who also contributed compositionally. The band entered the studio with Sanford Parker at the helm. Once again, O’Toole came aboard to pen a song titled Negative Birth on the record in addition to supporting Fell with lyrics to a few other tracks.
Jef Whitehead (of bands Leviathan, Lurker of Chalice and world renowned tattoo artist) was responsible this time around for the artwork to Death Mask. Once again the artwork became a controversial aspect to the release creating a stir in the metal scene with polarized opinions on all sides even within the LGBT community itself. To the band the artwork never held a political or social statement. The band fully supports the artwork. Death Mask was released on CD and digital April 29th 2014 through Profound Lore with a double LP version licensed and released via New Density afterwards.
Lord Mantis managed to do only one tour in the states with the Death Mask lineup touring with Hell Militia from France. Following that tour, Sorceron had decided to move from Chicago to Los Angeles. Next came a tour offer from Today Is The Day for the Fall of 2014. Sorceron told the band he would not be joining them on the tour. Lord Mantis found a last minute replacement guitarist for the dates.
This tour did not start on a healthy footing with Fell, and after a few shows he was sent home on a flight to receive help with his vices. Lord Mantis managed to play a few shows back en route to Chicago with an emergency set to help the fallout of the tour and to regroup.
During the next few months the band sat in limbo and reluctantly had to cancel their return to Roadburn 2015 and subsequent tour in Europe. After a few months of downtime it became apparent the band was not going to be able to continue into the future with the previous lineup.
O’Toole who had already been working with the band for the last four years in the studio joined as an official member on vocals, Will Lindsay (Indian, Wolves in the Throne Room) joined on bass, and Scott Shellhamer (American Heritage) as 2nd guitar. The band quickly began writing new material to record and release.
Lord Mantis kept their in your face attitude, re-grouped with a new line-up, and entered Bricktop Recordings to record a new EP titled Nice Teeth Whore this time recording with engineer Andy Nelson (Weekend Nachos, Like Rats) at the helm. Four new songs were tracked continuing where the band left off on Death Mask.
Nice Teeth Whore saw release through New Density in 2016 to much praise while striving to cement the story of the band straight. Up till then, the media backlash with the lineup shift after Death Mask was as heavy as anything before seen – especially from the metal media coming from the states. An extremely revealing moment in metal news culture as some sites and blogs took fake news to new heights while egged on by a previous band member. The libel used towards surviving and new musicians in the band was shameful, and the pictures painted were completely backwards and disproportionate when it came to any of their previous full-lengths. Unfortunately there were some fans that easily digested it. The band decided to respond like men which meant letting the music do the talking. False idols band together, and sheep will always be quick to follow. The press will be press.
Before the Nice Teeth Whore release, the band would continue on without Shellhamer as a 2nd guitarist and Will Lindsay on bass. Lindsay had an injury to his hand while simultaneously being focused more on pursuing his noise endeavors. The band found a replacement for Lindsay in the young and talented Alletta Ergun. Egrun would join and perform with the band as they took to the stage again.
During the evening of October 9th 2016 Bill Bumgardner took his own life in his home in Chicago. The band is in a state of perpetual limbo.