Review Summary: A near-fautless introduction to one of Australia's most exciting bands.
When was the last time a piece of music evoked some true passion out of you?
Not just “oh, this is really good”, or “this is terrible, I don’t like this”.
We’re talking the pinnacle of real emotions here.
If you can’t remember, then perhaps Melbourne fusion rock quartet Mammal are for you. This is a band that are driven purely by releasing the best kinds of passion- happiness, anger, aggression and confidence for starters -and connecting with their listeners on this basis. Their debut, self-titled EP stands somewhat as the band’s mission statement. It may be a brief introduction to the Mammal sound, but it would take a fool to not realise the focus of this band is crystal clear.
is, essentially, the vision of one Ezekiel Ox. Not just your average angry young man, his lyrics dissect all of the world that surrounds him with which he finds fault…and plans to take action. At the very core of these songs, one will find a man whose anger is fuelled by pure dissatisfaction with not a trace of insincerity or transparency to be seen.
“I know what you’re thinking”, he laughs on the EP’s standout track, “Think”, before standing on his political soapbox and restoring the power to the people. “You’re thinking if he said YES and then we said NO and the he went and did it anyway, we must have no say at all, right?”, he shouts. “Well, you’re WRONG!”. His half-spoken, half-rapped verses recall a young Zach de la Rocha, summoning all that will listen to arms over a snappy, funky rhythm in head-on collision with an escalating guitar riff that more or less explodes once the chorus hits. It’s not just rapping that Ox takes on- he’s also quite the singer. Check out the tracks “Inciting” as well as “Hell Yeah” to observe sonically the man’s prowess when it comes to not only lyrical intensity, but also melody.
Pushing Ox’s vocals to their deserved apex are the instrumental section of the band- drummer Zane Rosanoski, guitarist Pete Williamson and bassist Nick Adams. From the second Williamson plugs in on opener “New Breed Judas”, the band charge ahead with pumping, tightly-wound energy that rarely pauses for breath, if at all. Williamson’s guitar snarls and shrieks like a down-tuned John Frusciante, whilst Adams and Rosanoski keep the flow alive, setting the pace for their other half. Whether it’s fast-paced and mosh-inducing (“Think”, “Hell Yeah”), or tipping the hat to Tool and prog rock in general (EP closer “Groove Junkie”), the band don’t let their guard down for a minute. They are, indeed, the perfect match for Ezekiel Ox- equally as talented, so there is no competition betwixt the two.
is, sadly, not given enough time to really develop the band (a case that many EPs are guilty of). What little time we do get with Mammal, however, is time enough to prove that rock music can still be inventive, exciting and even thought-provoking; even when you’re convinced it’s all been done before.
“He’s got six strings in his hands…he’s got four strings in his hands…he’s got two sticks in his hands…I got this mic in my hand…”