Welsh four piece outfit, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have wasted no time in following up their debut album with another slab of doom encrusted metal. One thing that is obvious from the outset is a maturity to their sound and song writing approach. This, combined with a spark of individuality provides good omens and shows they’re much more than just an eye-catching name.
The very thick, primitive, bottom heavy intro to “Cithuula” sets the tone to what lays ahead. Trance like vocal tones from Jessica Ball create a mystical aura combined with that sense of expectation for something big. The vocals actually caught me by surprise given my expectation for a harsher sounding style. They add a transcendental, almost ethereal quality that actually seems to make the band’s sound heavier.
Instrumental track, “Gallego” is a furious, boiling cauldron of venomous riffs that are dense and grubby in a good way. A grumbling, bellowing bass line that feels like Electric Wizard with nods to Cathedral underpins it all and we get the first introduction to electronica that carries into the Eastern tinged “Osirian”. The guitar is really down tuned to the point of almost feeling flabby and it sounds brilliant. The bone dry percussion creates a suffocating heaviness before those almost childlike vocals continue to create a mystical foil.
The album’s second half is more heavily swathed in rich Moog textures. “Testudo” is a luscious, dark soundtrack that builds and builds. Smooth, sonic dreamscapes that bring to mind Jean-Michelle Jarre’s “Oxygene” compliments the simmering, thick-as-mud riffs that develops underneath before the beast is unleashed. This is quite unique and for me, this is the stand out track. The vocals never threaten to rise above the music, but rather weave through it. There’s Black Sabbath brutality flecked with Pink Floyd meets Hawkwind psychedelia that creates a lush, enveloping atmosphere. “Valmasque” is a sludgy, animalistic beast that feels like classic Cathedral. These are sounds that could only come from these islands with broad blasts that wash right through you. Title track, “Y Proffwyd Dwyll” closes the album with taut, dense auras. Moments of St Vitus-like urgency are interspersed with suspenseful overtones that really leave one intrigued.
With production duties again lying with Chris Fielding of Conan fame, this album has class written all over it. Providing aural bombardment, mystical imagery and catharsis in equal measure, it’s a strong statement from a young band so early in their career. More than anything, there is a uniqueness developing that will surely help to set them apart.
(8.5/10 Johnny Zed)