(Bonus points to anyone who realizes the title is a play on “Cosmic Doom” rather than “sonic boom”)
If you thought Mr. Perfect’s declaration of love for Richard Petty was the only music-related wrestling story you’d see today, I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS. UltraMantis Black, the great and devious insect overlord of Chikara, released his debut album yesterday on Relapse Records. Honestly, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. Some of his most successful shirt designs riff on bands like Black Flag and The Smiths. Here’s what the folks at Relapse have to say about the leader of The Spectral Envoy:
Behold the debut EP of ULTRAMANTIS BLACK, the hardcore musical vessel of professional wrestling’s own UltraMantis Black. Having spent over a decade dominating the independent pro wrestling scene, UltraMantis recruited a cadre of musicians from today’s finest punk bands, including members of Pissed Jeans, to form a blistering sociopolitical hardcore band that is equal parts Vegan Reich, Deadguy and LARM. Envision the unapologetic politics and fury of 90’s hardcore filtered through the over-the-top theatrics of lucha libre and you have ULTRAMANTIS BLACK!
For those up to speed with punk rock, you’ll know that pulling in personnel from Pennsylvania-based Pissed Jeans is a huge move. However, if I’m being honest here, I’ve never heard of those other three bands. “Vegan Reich” sounds like the German equivalent of Whole Foods. Enough of the snark, though – how does the album sound?
Actually, let’s start with how the album doesn’t sound… subtle. There is nothing subtle about hardcore/grindcore, and UltraMantis Black’s self-titled debut is no exception. This is not a surgically precise operation, this is a blunt instrument to the side of the head. That’s exactly what gets the message across, though. I’ve heard militant straight-edge hardcore before, but this is something different. This is militant vegan battle music. With track names like “Prescription Culture,” “Stockpiling Graves,” and “Earth War” (the last of which begins with a call to burn down corporations), it is abundantly clear that Mantis speaks for nature, screaming dirges for clear-cut forests and polluted skies. He is the Lorax as played by Henry Rollins.
If you’re a hardcore punk fan, you already know what you’re in for. Blisteringly fast songs (the whole 9-song EP clocks in at less than 15 minutes), lyrics that are yelled to the point of distortion, and a general feeling of tension that can only be released in your local mosh pit. If you’re just a curious wrestling fan with no experience in such music, I’d say give it a shot anyway. You’ll know within a minute or two whether it’s right for you. Personally, I plan on shelling out the seven bucks on Bandcamp for a digital copy. All hail the Envoy!