Review Summary: Mamaleek have the potential to take the underground metal scene by storm, but "Kurdaitcha" simply holds too many quirks and kinks to be considered anything other than a novel attempt.
Mamaleek are so close to there
, it’s painful. So much is working in their favor, that it’s no difficult task to see that these guys definitely have potential to make waves underground someday. They’ve got an air of mystery surrounding them; two brothers making dense industrial, black metal from their bedrooms, with absolutely no public face in which to connect their music. A mere vintage photograph of two young grade school children has surfaced, the only vindication of Mamaleek’s existence. After floating around a bit and releasing a self-titled, the two were quickly picked up by Enemies List, home to Xasthur and Have A Nice Life.
Yet the obfuscation and haze surrounding the band is a small draw in comparison to their bizarre and alluring sound. Mamaleek mix an interesting concoction of black metal, industrial, lo-fi, and world music. It’s a little disorienting to say the least, with so many influences sort of bloating the product. Their closest contemporaries in terms of sound are their label mates, Have A Nice Life, and just about every other at home metal project, most notably Nahvalr. Throw a little Middle Eastern influence in the mix, and that’s the closest one could get to describing Mamaleek. Despite the convergence of odd influences, the weird aural quality the band is really the duo’s greatest asset.
However, as I mentioned, Mamaleek are merely close to being there
, as Kurdaitcha
just doesn’t quite hit the mark. It’s bursting with fantastic ideas though, and it’s clear the two men behind the band have their heart in their work one-hundred percent. Still, the entire album comes off as a little hackneyed and misguided. It’s a dense and fuzzy black metal expedition, with no real leader, and absolutely no sense of direction. While certain tracks grab the listener, others simply float on by unassumingly. Those tracks, “Sinner Won’t Die No More” and “What A Trying Time,” are intriguing experiments in themselves, but don’t do much to hold interest. Bordering on ambient noise, the two tracks are grating and dull, especially the latter, as the majority of the song is nigh inaudible. These minimalist efforts are dwarfed the shadow of the other tracks, however, for Mamaleek are really at their best when at their most bombastic. The distorted industrial stylings of “The White Marble Stone” and “The Hypocrite and Concubine” really create a frenzied and dense atmosphere, with the low-tuned, fuzzy guitars truly making an enveloping sound. These pieces sound more in line with what one would expect from a bedroom black metal project--dark, haunting, and with a laissez-faire type of production. Yet the frequently used vocals leave much to be desired. The black metal thing they have going really works for them, but the screeched, grating vocals detract from much of the album.
Much of Kurdaitcha
is a sheer pleasure to listen to. It’s bold, and a fresh injection of ideas into the stale and formulaic “bedroom project.” For example, “My Body Rock Long Fever” is fantastic; a trippy but beautiful blend of electronics, chanting, and dense metal. It’s memorable for sure, but it’s honestly the only thing here that is. The rest is give or take, with literally nothing (aside from the before mentioned track) standing out as expressly wonderful. That being said, Mamaleek are still in their infancy, and although it goes without saying that they will never truly “break out,” this band is definitely one to keep an eye on.