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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Nuclear Dog's Atomic Split: Mammoth Mammoth - "Hell's Likely" / The Shooters - "Planet of the Black Sun"

From Melbourne, Australia you can find rock so big, so huge, so full of riffs and fuzz that one woolly mammoth is not enough of a comparison, so the band was named for two. There's a lot to love when you have two huge extinct creatures wielding modern nuclear weaponry in the guise of electrified musical instruments. And then, from the southwest of Spain can be found a prime example of pure rock, big, simple, and unadulterated in delivery and execution, but most importantly in enjoyment. Strap on your cuirass because we are about to do battle with the forces of heavy metal deficiency where we will certainly cure their asses with the ammunition loaded, locked, and on tap, ready to fire today.



Band members:

Ben Couzens - Guitar
Mikey Tucker - Vocals
Frank Trobiani - Drums
Pete Bell - Bass

As stated, this foursome hails from Melbourne and have garnered a huge reputation as a live band. From all accounts these guys put everything they have into every show, leaving it all on the stage, while simultaneously leaving the audiences satisfied to their 'amped to the max' core. Not only are Mammoth Mammoth experienced in playing to audiences, "Hell's Likely" is their third studio release, beginning with a self titled EP in 2008, "Mammoth" in 2009 that included covers of Kyuss' "Green Machine" and Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold", which put Mammoth Mammoth's irrevocable mega-fuzz stamp on those two varied but familiar and loved rock standards, and now "Hell's Likely", eight original ass kickers, straight out of some Australian explosives factory where someone threw a lit butt on the ground, large explosives expanded rapidly, and Mammoth Mammoth had an album of incredible explosiveness.

The music these guys put forth is heavy and fun, heavily reminiscent of rock of the 70s and 80s, while interspersed with sounds from the fledgling underground sounds of the era that gave birth to stoner rock, the 90s. They never mimic the sound of any of their influences, but at the same time do not shy away from what they like to use when laying waste to the earth with their low tuned, high energy music.

The title track is the opener and sets the perfect tone for what's to follow. It's fast paced and laden with energetic drumwork displaying timbre and skill that only the most adept and demoniac of guitars could follow.

The fuzz is unfurled for track 2, "Go", where, again, athletic guitar work unleashes monstrous riffs, huge fills of distortion and low tuned wonderment. I love the solo on this song, unfolding in a steady and intriguing manner that takes it time and entertains mightily because of it, as opposed to just dropping a few quick, loud licks like the majority of rock songs are wont to do.

My favorite track on the album is the fourth song down, "(Up All Night) Demons to Fight", the name alone bringing an anticipatory smile. The tempo here is deliberate and forceful, quickly igniting those primal urges deep within my metal soul. This is the kind of song you go to battle with. It delivers blow after blow, riff, lick, and fill wrapped in fuzz and distortion, and punctuated with the heavy bass rhythm of Bell's relentless playing, at the same time packaged neatly with Tucker's 'fuck you, kick ass' vocals.

One of the hallmarks of Mammoth Mammoth's songs is the length they play. There's no long drawn out psych journeys here, but at the same time they don't typically get in and get out in 3 minutes or less, either. 5 plus minutes is the standard, which is a great time for fuzz filled wonderment such as the deliverance of these 8 songs.

The final track, purportedly available only on the vinyl version of the album, is "Dead Sea", a deliberate show of strength and power, that comes across as an intelligent fuzz bomb, setting off explosions at exactly the right time and in exactly the right place throughout this demonstrative show of force.

Mammoth Mammoth have delivered a gargantuan, monstrous, prodigious, leviathanic collection of stoner fuzz bombs that boil the blood at just the right temperature on "Hell's Likely". If you are new to their music use this as a jumping off point and then go backward in time to collect the remainder of their awesome collection, worthy additions to any stoner metal anthology.

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Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia, Spain is where we go for our next cargo load of fuzz and distortion. South  of Sevilla and west of Malaga ( I wonder which team these guys root for), Jerez appears to be an idyllic town in the southwest of the country, with beautiful architecture and gorgeous scenery, it looks to be the type of place that would be hard pressed to produce a foursome able to conjure the type of energy and power to move massive boulders with the strum of a chord, the pluck of a bass string, or the strike of stick on skin, but  that's exactly what The Shooters do - create massive amounts of beautiful, monstrous sound melodicly formed into a treasure trove of stoner rock jewels.

Spanish may be what The Shooters speak, what they write, what they use to fill their Twitter and Facebook pages, but good old American is the language used on the vocals of this gigantic band of uncanny caliber and faculty. The language used by guitar is retro rock, stoner metal, good old fuzz and distortion, a language understood by millions and craved by the same.Those cravings can be assuaged with the release of "Planet of the Black Sun".

Band Members are Alex, Carlos, Danishoot, and Marcos.

Although it's not quite clear who plays what for The Shooters, in the end it doesn't matter, nor does it even matter in the beginning. We have access to their new release and all we need do is plug it in and play. Enjoyment ensues. Like their Atomic Split predecessor, The Shooters lay down ample time on their tracks to allow for full engagement, and deep enjoyment, igniting all music receptors and linking to all primal metal music urges.

"Planet of the Black Sun" kicks off with "Against the Storm", a stoner rock gem, for no other definition can suffice. The vocals are incredible on this, and every song. The guitars continually crank out distorted pleasure, while the drums surface in perfect time to the ever churning riffs, providing intrigue and conciliation. The closing section of the song lays down an intriguing display of melodic adeptness and enjoyment.

Track 2, "Satellite", does not back down from the high bar set on the first song, kicking up the tempo a notch, while simultaneously kicking up the fuzz a notch as well. How? Hell, I don't know, but it does. The song is crammed to the gills with riffs, licks, and fills during the main course. The bridge bares it down to brass tacks, though, singling out nifty single riffs and drum fills before exploding back into the main groove of the song.

"Fuel Eater" quite simply jams for 5 minutes. Not in a hurry, digging deep grooves at a mud slinging pace, it takes over your brain for a nice trip through distortion and doom, over before you realize you ever left, because the trip was pure hypnosis of low tuned wonderment.

"Fate" kicks up the tempo and the melody a bit, utilizing a full, rich tone to the low tuned guitars, undercurrented by massively heavy bass and topped with the ever present rhythm of wood on skin. There is an in and out flow to the song that mesmerizes with a tribal quality hypnotic in nature and delivery.

The Shooters are superb songwriters, definitely stamping their sound and style on each song, but never totally recreating what's already been conjured, either by them or anyone else. The changes are perhaps slight, subtle, and modest, just enough to pique interest and satisfy familiarity.

These guys work their magic on the music they play, crafting quality songs, and playing with skill and enthusiasm. This album is 9 songs of sheer stoner joy, fierce in delivery, heavy in tone, and deep in satisfaction.

On their bandcamp page you will have access to all their music, worthy of the free downloads, and inclusion into your stoner rock collection.

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1 comment:

  1. Love The Shooters. Unflinching, unblinking rock n roll!


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