Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Y Proffwyd Dwyll

It gives me hope for humanity, or at least musicians, when I hear albums like this. I didn't really know much about this band so I didn't have a lot of expectations. After about 30 seconds of listening to the opening track, I had a big smile on my face and I spent the next 48 minutes banging my head with a dopey grin on my face. At least no one saw me except for the cat, but I swear he puts things on You Tube. 

This is just good old sludgy, heavy, doom goodness. These guys and gal have riffs for days and I think this is what molasses would sound like if it came to life and played music. It is dark and thick and a little bit sweet, thanks to the female vocals. For me, there is something about that combination of heavy music and a light voice that just does it to me every time. I love the way the vocals are doubled and tripled and sometimes turned into a whole heavenly sounding chorus against the backdrop of music that is just pummeling away.

This band hails from Wales, and I don't speak Welsh but according to Google Translate the album title literally means “The Prophet Fraud”, so I'm thinking a better translation would be “The False Prophet”, but I'm no linguist. The press release mentions Druids and doom and who knows what the Druids were like and what they listened to, as they seem shrouded in mystery, but you can't say they wouldn't sound like this. Besides the vocals, what really does it for me is the use of the synths. They always seem to drop in just at the right time, and they seem to be playing just the right thing. That judicious use is what really makes the album for me.

I really dig this album, and one of the things that this band has going for them is the ability to write riffs that don't all sound the same. You may think that is no big deal, but give it some real thought and you may realize that your favorite band writes more similar riffs than you think. Each song here is distinct and I found myself thinking, “No way they're going to top that riff”. Then the next track kicked in and I was still headbanging and grinning. “Valmasque”, the album opener, has a chorus that somehow sounds major and poppy and quite beautiful actually, kind of like how Kurt Cobain used to pull those types of choruses out of a dirgey sounding song. “Testudo” has this nice acoustic opening thing going on for about two and a half minutes, and then the hammer drops so hard I'm surprised I still have a floor in my house. I also enjoyed “Osirian”, the synths are just off the chain crazy, bouncing around and adding mayhem to a riff that crushes like Mjolnir.

Being a band and finding elements of music and style that separate you from the pack is no small feat these days, and Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard definitely have the goods to do just that. Hopefully this album will garner them some more well deserved recognition so that more of you brothers and sisters who enjoy the heavy will get a chance to hear them. Seek them out and reap your reward.


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