UltraMantis Black - UltraMantis Black [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

UltraMantis Black

UltraMantis Black [EP] (2014)

Relapse Records

Over the past decade, UltraMantis Black has been a force to be reckoned with in the Philadelphia—based CHIKARA PRO wrestling promotion. Never revealing his true identity, (he stays hidden behind a mask that bears a bit of a resemblance to the figure gracing Mastodon's 2011 release, The Hunter), UltraMantis Black has been hell—bent on the destruction of the "Great and Devious insectoid leader of The Order of the Neo—Solar Temple." Teaming up with Allentown, PA's Pissed Jeans (frontman Matt Korvette once described them as "the musical equivalent to watching a toilet flush"), UltraMantis Black has unleashed a noisy grindcore—inspired EP titled simply, UltraMantis Black.

To start, the songs on the UltraMantis Black EP are not for the wrestler's average fan. Billing itself as "family friendly," CHIKARA PRO features costumed and masked characters performing a high—flying, lucha—libre style of wrestling. It's cartoon entertainment come to life. There is nothing cartoony about the EP, however. Timing out at just under fifteen minutes, UltraMantis Black is simply teeming with unbridled rage and political rants regarding Earth and the state that it finds itself in.

It's difficult to reconcile the family—friendly image of the wrestling persona with the album's output. The EP is a near—14—minute blast of powerviolence that would leave most families apoplectic and gasping for air. "Biomonster DNA" starts with a vocal snippet about nature and big business, before it slams into a diatribe screaming about the manipulation of food DNA. "Prescription Culture" tackles the idea of economic control through medicine ("Systematic health control/Business with disease takes toll"), while "Oil and Gas" rails about the destruction of Earth for its natural resources ("Drill the shale dry/The Earth is robbed").

Environmental and political issues could just as easily (and more understandably) be attacked with a tambourine and acoustic guitar, but a masked wrestler and band with soiled denim are far too direct for that. "Deepest Ecology" decry the effect man has had on the planet, and "Earth War" further screams about how people have destroyed their planet, all set to a violent, noisy soundscape. It's the EP's closer, "Gloom of Prosperity," that offers even the faintest of hope, stating at song's end, "We are encouraged to set out on our own."

The kids and families that cheer on UltraMantis Black while he fights for the Tecnicos (as opposed to the Rudos) in CHIKARA PRO will want to steer clear of UltraMantis Black. Fans of The Locust and other noisy, politically—minded bands will want to take a quarter—hour out, and give it a serious listen.