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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Album Review: Mammoth Mammoth - Volume III: Hell's Likely

It might be some massive Movember-related office in-joke that I’m not aware of, but I’ve been reviewing a lot of hairy bands recently. And I mean bands with hirsute monikers. I’ve had the frizz of All Hail The Yeti and the cowlicks of Texas Hippie Coalition moulting all over my desk and currently I’m sweeping back the endless fringe of Australia’s Mammoth Mammoth.

You know that any band who describes themselves as “Chasing mayhem… hunting unicorns… murdering fuzz” have a seriously good sense of humour. That is evident from the music they are making and exactly what kind of tools they are wielding here. You’ll recognise their warm throb of the sort bandied about by bands like Orange Goblin, but instead of digging out a slow groove for it to sit in, Mammoth Mammoth attempt to weld that to some pretty fast Motorhead-esque rock chops instead.

The title-track of this third album of theirs sets off at a breakneck pace, with “Go” and “Bare Bones” ramping up that “heavy murder fuzz” that they seem so desperate to sell. Underneath it all though the simple chord structures and vocal harmonies of naff 70s/80s rock combos begin to peek through – almost as if a coiffured Poison or rug-sporting KISS are trying to party up the joint. The juxtaposing upbeat songs and down market amp-abusing sees the band begin to pick off a sound approximating that of a cotton-wool smothered AC/DC. That overzealous bass buzzcut just murders the vitality of their standard rock gimmicks like the call-and-response tactics or the wild guitar solos that they plant. Instead the clean strings and vocals are dragged down into shit-kicking their way out of places like the interminable marathon “(Up All Night) Demons To Fight”. I don’t care how “fun” your band is; recycling three chords for seven minutes can’t be anyone’s idea of a good time.

The second half of the album sees the band really ripping into their songs. This addition of chugged grunt and sinister vocal allows them to grasp something a little more tangible. Both “I Want It Too” and “Bury Me” plunder more torpid rhythms and feature bleak nagging passages that reaches down to much darker places. They are songs that begin to draw comparison with bands like labelmates Monster Magnet and Canadian looney-tunes Barn Burner. With no fewer than five bonus tracks on this here promo, they certainly have plenty of tuneage to offer. Party anthems “Another Drink” and “Let’s Roll”, the monstrous grind of “Weapon Of Mass Self-Destruction”, the lighter, nimbler “Slacker” and “The Bad Oil” (where they attempt to transform into The Ramones and miss the boat by running the track for six minutes too long) all benefit from grittier production which really brings their gnarlier side to the fore.

End of the day, Mammoth Mammoth clearly didn’t write Hell’s Likely with the finer details in mind; they just wanted to write music that was fun to play and with enough bottom-end to break eardrums. By the album’s close, you’ll either be besotted by their no frills, no nonsense, all power bravado or bored to tears by their lack of ingenuity and “bull in a china shop” approach to song construction. Expect plenty of bristle, but don’t be surprised if all you get is split ends.

Also online @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2012/11/mammoth-mammoth-hells-likely-napalm-records/
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