When I wrote about the second Lord Mantis full-length, Pervertor (Candlelight), in March, I said that it “puts me in mind of a huge rampaging machine from the Matrix movies.” The machines I was picturing are called Sentinels—flying squidlike hunter-killers that pursue our heroes through the abandoned sewer tunnels of the “real” world. Lord Mantis’s sludgy, demented black metal has an obsessive rhythmic drive and a busily mechanical feel, but more important it’s suffocatingly, apocalyptically hateful. If you were to render a Sentinel as music, it would sound like this: like a monstrous, frighteningly nimble robot that travels in swarms, its clusters of eyelike sensors glowing an evil red as it sweeps implacably through a ruined subterranean labyrinth to find and eradicate the human virus infecting what remains of the planet. I saw Lord Mantis at the Cobra Lounge in April, and even through that small room’s modest sound system they put on the most overwhelming show I’ve seen from a Chicago band all year.

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.