Review Summary: Mamaleek present a strong argument for being the next California black metal export worth following in the future.
Mamaleek are part of a growing black metal community out of California. Deafheaven and Botanist have received similar success while under the famed record label, The Flenser. Despite the similar sense of tone by most artists distributed by the label, Mamaleek have some massive differences worth noting. As far as personalities, they decide to remain anonymous. The brothers in the band record their records in San Francisco and Beirut. The sounds created can be classified in the industrial, black metal, and drone genres. While attacking a wide array of sounds, the band never feels like anything else available. with this shorter new EP, we are given four songs which might mean less of a range to attack, but that is not the case whatsoever.
The broad experimentation present on He Never Spoke a Mumblin Word would make early Trent Reznor jealous. The drones are soul-crushingly beautiful, drums are speedy and infectious from beginning to end, and the guitar lines are sinister and twisted as black metal needs to be. The vast amount of movements that take place in each song create contrasting portions worth divulging into. Vocally, this record is not great but it is solid. The vocals present here are not going to blow any listener away but the heavy emotional impact does work effectively as it should.
All four songs on the album are nearly perfect in execution. The title track(and opener) gives off an industrial drone vibe early with pulse-pounding drum work. Shouted vocals add another layer to the walls created sonically only to be followed by an astounding ambient drone. All the while, a sludgy guitar line is building from the lower beginning to a loud finish. The final ninety seconds give listeners a reprieve leaving chorus sampling and drone to finish them off. "Poor Mourner's Got A Home" is probably the heaviest track on the listing, opening with a slow female vocal sample only to have loud vocals jolt the viewer into Mamaleek's segment. A sweeping drone and guitar line slowly builds throughout until the guitars turn to an all-out distorted assault. The real attraction here is the nasty and infectious drum kick that adds a layer of terror to every movement of the song.
"Almost Done Toiling Here" is nearly perfect from beginning to end, kicking off with a bombastic drum beat and brutally uncontrollable lead vocals. The drone that builds throughout is overwhelming, while the vocals seem to fall out of the mix a bit. Filling in the second half of the track are darker guitar and bass lines that give the song a tortured and heavy feel. "My Ship Is On the Ocean" presents a weaker track, but that is only due to a shorter length. This song really busts open with aggressive vocals and a guitar line that is perfectly distorted. The drum beat is similar to a marching band that slowly builds behind speedy guitars. The last minute descends into an ambient drone, creating a melancholy and sinister ending to the brooding and powerful EP.
If there are any negatives for He Never Spoke a Mumblin Word it would have to be the short length. While this EP is a full-fledged an meaty experience, it does seem odd to only release twenty eight minutes when you can create such a tangible and beautiful world to inhabit. The first three tracks are perfectly balanced in ways that one would expect but the closer is a bit short and unsatisfying based upon the immense tracks that precede it. All that being said, this a minor flaw that can be overlooked.
Mamaleek have created a solid four-track EP worth all of your time. After listening to He Never Spoke a Mumblin Word three times, it still resonates incredibly well and gives listeners something new to notice on multiple listens. The black metal, industrial, and drone styling are done to near perfection from beginning to end. The length is the only truly disappointing aspect here, but the four songs are too good to really be angry about it. He Never Spoke a Mumblin Word receives a mammoth and intriguing 8/10.