ALBUM REVIEW: Mammoth Salmon ‘Last Vestige Of Humanity’


MAMMOTH SALMON
‘Last Vestige Of Humanity’
Self-released, 2015
6/10

Calling it sludge would be to ignore the music’s rich, creative groove, calling it doom would dismiss the band’s ebullient nature, calling it stoner might suggest faster tempos than you actually get… So what shall we call it? Let’s just call it massive.

As the Oregon-based band’s ludicrous name suggests, this music is both redoubtable and elusive. Listening to Mammoth Salmon is like stripping naked and wrestling a rabid bear. It’s big, powerful, furry and has a deadly arsenal… but once you’ve done it, you feel an enormous sense of warm satisfaction.

Opening track ‘Ad Nauseam’ kicks things off with a deliriously groovy and pulverizing riff that grabs your throat and refuses to let go. Then ‘Acid Casualty’ continues in a very similar vein, but with a darker, Saint Vitus-inspired vibe.

The title track starts inauspiciously and, although it wakes up towards its stirring finale, the song fails to achieve any great momentum. From then onwards, the album starts to get more sparse and disjointed, requiring patience and perseverance from the listener.

‘Memoriam’ is the sound of a bloodthirsty ogre trampling a village but the beast runs out of puff before it can sink its teeth into any meat. Elsewhere, the middle section of ‘Shattered Existence’ sees the band in full swing, desperate and heavy, while ‘Believe Nothing’, as its name suggests, simply provides 10 minutes of futility and emptiness.

There is a stirring humanity and honesty to the songs, although that personality is sometimes drowned by fuzz, carefulness and duplication and as a result the songs can stagnate.

Paul Dudziak’s earthy vocals and fleshy guitar tones create an energetically anguished combination, but a lack of consistency in terms of songwriting means that ‘Last Vestige Of Humanity’ only intermittently drags itself out of the mire to make its voice heard.

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