Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Yn Ol I Annwn
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. That’s quite a mouthful, right? The UK band, who plays a psychedelic and sludgy variant of doom metal, came to my attention last year, with the release of their split-EP “Totems”. The EP, featured two tracks from the band, as well as three tracks from another UK band, the doomsters in Slomatics. The two Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard tracks, ‘Master And His Emmisary’, and the massive ‘Eagduru’, were an instant hit with me. I found myself going back through their discography, and enjoying their debut “Noeth ac Anoeth” released in 2015, as well as their second offering “Y Proffwyd Dwyll” from 2016 quite a bit.
This new album, titled “Yn Ol I Annwn” (which is Welsh for ‘Return To The Underworld’), is the last part of a trilogy for the band, and in that way a definite continuation of the sound from their earlier releases, but it also paints the picture of a band very safe in their own skin, but still not apprehensive to experimenting and adding new elements to their sound. Similar to the two tracks offered on the “Totems” EP, the music offered on this new album might not be inducing instant fits of headbanging, or be as initially catchy as their previous releases. But honestly, this new more melody-laden and less-riff focused approach suits me perfectly. Don’t misunderstand, there still is riffs-a-plenty here, but it feels like the band has focused more on the overall character of the tracks here, than they did on their earlier albums.
Their sound is definitely belongs to the “doom school” of metal, but to stop there would be a very lacking description of the band. There are a lot of progressive and psychedelic elements added to their unique recipe. It’s not among the harder or most extreme bands in this genre, but rather a more crestfallen atmospheric sound that the listener easily can get lost in. Their vocalist, Jessica Ball, adds greatly to this aspect with her airy, yet authoritative voice. It’s not the kind of vocals that you are necessarily used to hearing in metal, and this is, in my opinion, a great boon for the band.
Initially, I’m, after the small prologue ‘Trafamadore’, greeted by the most accessible and catchy track on the album. ‘The Spaceships of Ezekiel’ is named after the 1974 book by NASA-engineer Josef F. Blumrich. A book that looked at the possibility of Biblical and Mythological stories being real eyewitness accounts to encounters with Aliens. No matter ones stance on that theory, it’s fascinating material, and it’s theme is explored and reflected in the empyrean, yet mighty sounds of the song. A trait that I’d have to say persists through the album as a whole.
Another interesting track is the calmer, elegant ‘Du bist jetzt nicht in der Zukunft’ (which is German for ‘You are not now in the future’). With it’s confluence of Balls graceful vocals and graceful cello melodies. The refined piece is perhaps one of the experimental tracks on the album, still atmospherically enrapturing.
The album, really steps up toward the end, and delivers some of my definite favorite tracks. The almost hypnotizing thirteen minute epic ‘Katyusha’, embodies the way this kind of droning, cyclic doom can be at it’s best. The band keeps throwing riff after riff into their kettle of witches-brew, dwelling on each one long enough that it satisfies the listener, yet progressing before it becomes repetitive. The track grooves on, floating on a carpet of oscillating background noise that ebbs and flows as the music intensifies. Next out is ‘The Majestic Clockwork’ where ethereal vocal-melodies and steady rhythms, expertly underlined by bassist Stuart Sinclair and drummer James Carrington, conjures an almost otherworldly feel before the track gallops on, ever faster, towards it’s finale.
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – The Spaceships Of Ezekiel (click here if video doesn’t play)
Finally ‘Five Days In The Abyss’ ends “Yn Ol I Annwn”. Perhaps the heaviest track on the album, and initially a riff-monster barreling down on you. However it does not take long until the vocals flood in, and the ambiance seeps into the dense thicket created by guitarists Wes Leon and Paul Michael Davies. Towards the end of the track an organic weave of guitars hits you, flowing together like the branches of a canopy, embellishing and lifting the track up to it’s grand conclusion.
With “Yn Ol I Annwn” Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard has succeeded in creating an album that is partly delicate and partly robust and powerful. The mix of Black Sabbath-like riffing and space-rockish, psychedelic keyboard and effects, is straight out if the handbook of godfathers of the genre, like Hawkwind or Omega, but the band does so with a very heavy, substantial, organic, and modern sound.
- The Spaceships of Ezekiel
- Fata Morgana
- Du bist jetzt nicht in der Zukunft
- Yn Ol I Annwn
- The Majestic Clockwork
- Five Days in the Abyss