23 Sep 2023

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Mammuthus - Album Review: Imperator

18 Jun 2023 // A review by River Tucker

If you like your stoner metal super-sized and embellished with a nice touch of doom, then Mammuthus’ latest release, Imperator, is definitely the album for you. Seven tracks of deliciously down-tuned, guitar-driven heaviness smash into your eardrums like a well-oiled and relentless steam train.

Mammuthus starts things off slow and grungy with Holy Goat, a potent track highly reminiscent of Californian band Kyuss, that’s sure to get your head banging in appreciation. Sitting perfectly in the mix, lead singer and guitarist Josh Micallef’s vocals have that Californian drawl that works exceptionally well for stoner metal. The Australian born front man also employs a classic American melodic singing style during Long Drive and makes ample use of overdriven fuzz pedals to provide that authentic stoner metal sound.

Expansive soundscapes, made all the more impressive through relentless tempos, grow more fierce as tracks progress, providing for truly compelling songs. One of the heaviest, Backdoor, with its excellent chord progressions and absolutely monumental drums (largely a result of Massey University’s spacious studio offering up ample amounts of natural reverb) is the exemplar of this notable technique. But it’s only when Mammuthus rocks out with King Of The Dead, showcasing guest singer Mark Murdell, that a significant degree of Kiwi flavour, similar to prodigious New Zealand metal band Beastwars, percolates into the release.

Although concise songs generally keep musical exploration to a minimum, the short-but-sweet Bloodworm, nicely following on from the heavy-hitting and at times poignant instrumental Monolith, starts out with a slow and unrelenting first half that, if you haven’t heard the band's debut EP, leaves one somewhat unprepared for the song's upbeat and powerful tempo change. It’s quite amazing just how much energy this Wellington trio, and their respective recording and mastering engineers James Goldsmith and Will Borza, have incorporated into the mix here.

Similarly, the end track Formless meanders into creation with a laid-back bass line and pared-down drumbeat, giving little indication of what’s to come. Providing variety and complimenting the other equally notable vocal styles on the album, female singer EJ Thorpe from the band End Boss, delivers an exquisite, otherworldly performance, particularly during the palpably intense ending, making this the standout track. And just like the entire album, Matt Bradford's bass lines and Jay Rodeo's drumming on Formless deliver exactly what is called for.

Unlike many other metal releases, Imperator isn’t ruined by gimmicky effects or plagued by over-engineering. Instead, it is just good old-fashioned stoner metal that pulls no punches. Vocals and some refrains may at times be a bit derivative, but there is a marked improvement in sound quality to the songs previously released and no denying that Mammuthus has mastered a number of styles in their pursuit of music that is undeniably original.

Make sure you check out Mammuthus and their album Imperator today.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Mammuthus

Wellington’s heaviest stoner doom act Mammuthus burst onto the scene in 2020, melting faces with their self-titled debut EP. The trio, consisting of guitarist/vocalist Josh Micallef, bassist Matt Bradford and drummer Jay Rodeo, combine ultra-heavy low-end doom with the distorted fuzz of stoner rock, drawing influence from bands such as Kyuss, Sleep, Red Fang, Corrosion of Conformity, Beastwars and Dio, to name a few.

The result is their brand of thunderous riffage with melodic vocals, cruising low and slow, but then flooring it through all the red lights. They have played alongside internationals Sasquatch and fellow kiwi heavyweights Beastwars, End Boss, Pull Down The Sun and Blindfolded and Led To The Woods, as well as performing at Wellington’s Cuba Dupa Festival in 2021, attended by over 120,000.

The new album Imperator will be released on July 7 on CD and on all major streaming platforms. Recorded and mixed in 2022 by James Goldsmith and mastered by Will Borza, Imperator is a hulking shadow of sound and intimidation upon the senses.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Mammuthus


Year: 2023
Type: Album
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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