Review – Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard / Slowmatics: Totems

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  • Bio: n/a
  • Label: Black Bow Records
  • Release Date: March 29th, 2018
  • Genre: Doom Metal, Electronica, Sludge Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Black Bow Records out of Childer Thornton, UK is a label that has gone from simple underground status to a pretty strong contender in the metal world over the years, and it’s been fun watching them grow since the start of this site. The level of quality their roster has been blessed with has been undeniable, sprawling between folk to doom and everything in between. To add an extra kick to 2018, we are given a split release from fellow countrymen Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and Slowmatics titled Totems, an effort that exists through months of communication and idea swapping between the two before they ventured into Skyhammer Studio. The former is a relatively new act that came to be in 2014 and holds two full-lengths and an EP under their belt, while the latter forged back in 2004 and has a number of releases to their name, though mostly splits. But does this pairing make for a memorable offering, or does this outing hold little to keep the listener interested?

Up first is Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and their contributions are definitely interesting. While carrying a heavy doom output initially, “The Master and His Emissary” eventually carries itself more like a mainstream alternative metal track without losing the intensity. This is thanks largely to bassist/vocalist Jessica Ball’s clean, sometimes hypnotic singing that turns an otherwise burdening sound into something approachable in an early 2000’s Lacuna Coil manner as the additional drone effects creep in to pave the way to some traditional early Black Sabbath riffs to wrap the lengthy track up. But it’s “Eagduru” that is the most enchanting. Simple riff and drum patterns with a hint of an aquatic gloom matched with a far more innocent vocal range makes an otherwise depressing performance a sweet and innocent track through purgatory, leading you along to your final resting place with an angelic guide.

And then you have Slowmatics on the flip-side. “Ancient Architectures” tries to live up to the title with a booming presence, echoing vocals, and traces of egyptian influence. The thing that stands out is how this track sounds like if Strapping Young Lad had gone the doom route as far as speed was concerned. And then there’s the simple, but still beautiful piano piece “Silver Ships Into the Future”, offering up a brief reprieve that perfectly captures the snow swept landscapes outside your window [at least it did while looking out at the snowstorm happening as I type this review] to ease you into the burdening end game of “Masters Descent”. The thick guitar riffs and aforementioned vocal effect gives this one even more of an industrial tone without ever actually branching into that musical realm. Instead you are pulled into a nightmarish high of ritualistic rhythms and haziness.

Mammoth Weed Wizard BastardTotem is, by far, one of the most surprising split releases one could come across if not familiar with the acts involved. Both offering up something incredibly unique to the psych/doom world that will immediately grab hold of you and refuse to let go. Between innocence and uncompromising hopelessness, both Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and Slomatics put their best on display, and it all comes down to your personal tastes. Are you content with the norm for the previously mentioned styles, or are you craving something a little off the beaten path? If you fall into that second category, this is an offering you will want to check out.

Mammoth Weed Wizard BastardDigital review copy of this release provided by Dewar PR