Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Yn Ol I Annwn review

If Saint Etienne had discovered Sabbath and weed. This is doom Jim, but not as you know it. 10/10Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard Dec

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard 2017 Welsh Music Prize nominees and claimants that ‘All band names are stupid’ who were personally invited by Robert Smith of the Cure to play the Meltdown Festival return with their third full length release. Described as ‘3 ape descendants and an astral seraphim combining their powers to generate colossal interstellar arias of plutonium weight. We are the ideal soundtrack to your next intergalactic voyage or black hole exploration.’ They are not mistaken.

Building on the doomy fuzz of debut Noeth ac Anoeth and the heavier, sludgier, more psychedelic Y Proffwyd Dwyll, Yn Ol I Annwn (Return To The Underworld) concludes the druidic space rock trilogy in an interstellar overdrive.

Guitarist Paul Michael Davies says …

“For the 3rd album I wanted to take the band’s sound even further but still stay true to what made us start the band in the first place. Personally, I think the doom scene is (thankfully) thriving, but some of the ‘genre’ tropes can be a bit limiting, and we are all about pushing that. So some elements of this album will be something different for the usual doom fan. There’s what I would call ‘avant-garde’ bits to it, and I wanted more of a Sci-Fi/soundtrack element to it as well as the usual heavy riffs. We’ve used the cello on more songs to make them more atmospheric as well as a lot more synths. It’s kind of a nice mix of our usual heavy riffs but with some fresh elements. I personally feel that it’s our best work yet, and concludes the trilogy perfectly”

This is doom, but not as you know it.

We enter the fourth dimension via the synth oriented Traflamadore. Commencing with a John Carpenter played on a moog by early Hawkwind vibe, it has hints of foreboding as it swirls into The Spaceships Of Ezekiel whose added Theremin accelerates the space rock while the rhythm section lay down the doom. The substantially layered vocals of Jessica Ball contrast divinely with the heavy riffing and dark psychedelic timewarps in a track based on a 70’s research book by Josef F. Blumrich. Blumrich, a NASA scientist set out to disprove the  Erik von Daniken book Chariots of the Gods? which instigated the ancient astronauts  theory (the chariots being spacecraft, in the Bible). Davies comments

Being an actual rocket scientist, Blumrich set out to disprove these theories but as he was researching the book,  he started to come to the conclusion that this shit could have actually happened!..
..he breaks down the book of Ezekiel in the old testament and even includes actual diagrams of what the spaceships may have looked like. Wes (MWWB 2nd guitar) is a UFO nut so the song had to happen. It also fits in with the theme of the album too.. To us its a slab of mad 70s Sci-Fi literature put through the MWWB Filter.”

Fata Morgana (Morgan La Fay of Arthurian and Celtic legend), is pared back, wistful and melodic. With an almost medieval tone, the whimsical and dulcet tones of Ball enchant, siren-like and then you are enveloped in the welcome, comforting, enchanting sludge. Gloriously hypnotic and accessible it’s not a change in direction, rather a honing. I cannot wait to hear this delivered live in their inimitable style!

Du Bist Jetzt Nicht In Der Zukunft (you are not now in the future) is an atmospheric cello and synth driven soundscape topped with melancholic and celestial vocals. Then Yn Ol I Annwn brings us back to earth with a crash, plunging us deep beyond the confines of the earth. Back into the Underworld. It’s mammoth, anthemic with fuzz drenched, crushing riffs. For me this is the garden of delight of Welsh literature, not the hellish underworld of other myths and legends. I’d happily allow the hounds to take my soul here, in fact, they may already have.

Katyusha is a ponderous and progressive voyage into time and space. At thirteen minutes, despite being the longest track it lacks vocals but not vibrancy. This could be the enchanting big sister to the Nachthexen .

The Majestic Clockwork I first heard delivered live in an exceptional set of new material in October. Where MWWB commanded the stage with the hooks, chugs and heavy riffage sorcery of the underworld. Sadly there was no live cello, but there was the exquisitely crafted melody, with soaring vocals and spacey psych synths, with a primal and a totally locked in rhythm section. The skill and delivery of the astounding sounds and amazing music is sublime.

Five Days In The Abyss closes the album in a sci-fi saga to rival Moorcock. Glissando cello, with twinkling chimes and haunting flutes build an otherworldly symphony. Hypnotic and atmospheric, then a pummelling as the bass crashes in. There is a monster in the deep and it is as beautiful and terrifying as the dawn

Yn Ol I Annwn builds upon the previous releases and while this is unmistakably MWWB, be prepared to be surprised. Heavy, but perfectly balanced with psychedelic groove leanings and a little less dirge. The vocals are more predominant, as is the more liberally utilised cello and moog. A sublime serenade for astral travellers, hop aboard with Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and enjoy the ride.Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard Yn Ol I Annwn

Tracklisting

  1. Tralfamadore
  2. The Spaceships Of Ezekiel
  3. Fata Morgana
  4. Du Bist Jetzt Nicht In Der Zukunft
  5. Yn Ol I Annwn
  6. Katyusha
  7. The Majestic Clockwork
  8. Five Days In The Abyss

Yn Ol I Annwn is set to land on March 1st 2019 and will be available on CD/DL and limited edition double vinyl. First pressings will be housed in a gatefold sleeve. With a Green/Blue marble version and an Amber and Red disc version. Full download is included and it can be pre-ordered here

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard upcoming shows:

22nd March – The Lexington, London w/ Elephant Tree
16th May – Focus Wales, William Aston Hall, Wrexham w/ Skindred
18th May – Rebellion, Manchester w/ Witchsorrow & more
24th-26th May – Cardiff Psych And Noise Fest

Each Monday The Metal Report sends out a list of all stories, interviews, reviews and features we’ve posted for the previous week. You can sign up for it here