Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard
Yn Ol I Annwn


3.5
great

Review

by Dewinged CONTRIBUTOR (65 Reviews)
March 12th, 2019 | 49 replies


Release Date: 03/01/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bloom through the cracks of the concrete sea.

Few bands honor their name like Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. Their sound is heavy, entrancing and strangely comforting, like the aftermath that follows a deep, lung-shattering blast from the bong. It’s pure Sabbathian worship orchestrated by a symphony of concrete and stone and conducted by the celestial voice of Jessica Ball. Her singing is like a little flower blooming and breaching through the cement surface. No logical reason can explain its presence there, but neither can anyone deny the miraculous beauty of its existence.

With Yn Ol I Annwn, the five-piece from Wales have completed a trilogy initiated in 2015 with Noeth Ac Anoeth (from the Welsh, “Naked and Wise”). The band’s full-length debut was granted an earthly nature, like some sort of terraforming catastrophe, each track felt like a devastating quake. It was raw, dusty and monolithic. A year later, a second meteorite fell on the sludge and doom scene proving that the band wasn’t pulling a one-off; it was titled Y Proffwyd Dwyll (“The Prophet’s Fraud”) and it showed remarkable consistency in their sound and blind faith in their formula.

Three years later and not much has changed for the Wizard Bastard. After a brief foreplay with Irish sludge masters Slomatics that led to a split release last year, the band goes full circle with Y Ol I Annwm (which roughly translates into something like “Return to the Underworld”). The script remains barely untouched: gravitational riffage and stomping tempos are governed by the celestial chants of Jessica Ball who, after dropping bass duties on live performances, is focused now on torturing Moogs and singing. She sounds more confident than ever, casting spellbinding melodies on tracks like “Fata Morgana” and the fantastic closer “Five Days in the Abyss”. Her ghostly and fragile tone is what makes MWWB’s craft so unique, different from the imposing character of vocalists like King Woman’s Kris Esfandiari or Windhand’s Dorthia Cottrell. Somehow, the band manages to coalesce her ethereal synth pop vocal lines with the onslaught of bands like Bongripper, Eyehategod, or Crowbar. As mysterious as that defying blossom through the asphalt cracks, it just works.

This wedlock of styles comes at a price though. The thirteen minutes of the instrumental “Katyusha” are arguably unnecessary, and they show that, in the absence of Jess’ voice, the resulting brand of weed fueled metal is not much different from the works of other prominent figures of the sludgedom. Furthermore, the constant presence of twisted frequencies, beeps and squeaks can become tiresome after a while, which is an issue that carries out from their previous album. Although these noises belong in the background, they are noticeable enough to slightly detract from the otherwise great sonic experience of songs like “The Spaceships of Ezekiel” and title track “Yn Ol I Annwn”.

Beyond these minor qualms, songs like “Five Days in the Abyss” and “Fata Morgana” are among the best spells created by the Wizard, and it’s no surprise that Chris Fielding, from the abrasive cave-doom trio Conan, is the man behind the mixing board. This record can only be measured by the inhuman amount of herb that might have been burnt and absorbed to make it sound like your head is being squeezed between two gigantic pillows. Y Ol I Annwm is a coach trip to the unknown with Matt Pike fueling the engines and Nicole Dollanganger piloting the ship straight into a black hole. So, close the windows, breathe the smoke and brace for impact. And don’t worry, the Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard will take care of the rest.



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user ratings (25)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 12th 2019


49760 Comments


Lol that band name tho

Digging: PAT - Love Will Find A Way Home

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


17575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This probably would be a 6/5 with the proper... condiments.



Check the album in full in New Heavy Sounds' bandcamp: https://newheavysounds.bandcamp.com/album/yn-ol-i-annwn



Edit: wrong tag

Digging: The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 12th 2019


49760 Comments


First paragraph typo *through

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 12th 2019


49760 Comments


Might check this

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


11240 Comments


One more til that half century

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


17575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good catch, thanks Pots, spellcheck doesn't whisper me those ones.



Curious to read your thoughts on this.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


17575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah Noct, I'm still thinking of what to write for the occasion. Might as well pop smth short and sweet.

Relinquished
March 12th 2019


42958 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

love the vox here

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


17575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

She's the soul indeed

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2019


11767 Comments


Very good read with great descriptions.

Never managed to get into sludge/doom, unfortunately. It just sounds too repetitive and cacophonous to my, untrained at this style, ears.

Digging: Yoth Iria - Under His Sway

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


17575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks manosg. Don't worry, you are not alone in that. It's a branch of metal that is very taxing, all bands sound admittedly similar and the slow, heavy tempo can get pretty boring.



These guys are far from being the holy grail of the genre but at least they tried smth different with Jess' voice. I'd say check "Fata Morgana" and if that doesn't drag you in abandon ship.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2019


15965 Comments


Sweet, vividly descriptive review dewi. Nice work! Will have to check

Digging: Leeched - To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2019


11767 Comments


Will do, Dewi.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


17575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Gonz!

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2019


15965 Comments


It looks like 2019 is set to be the year of the sludge

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


17575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Man it can't beat last year's Sleep return to the game. What else is out there that I missed? I'm slowly falling behind this year due to work and life.

Sniff
March 12th 2019


6061 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not loving the vox here

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


17575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn ):

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2019


10124 Comments


Wonderful job my man, another great review.

And that band name is so stoner rock it almost hurts haha

hansoloshotfirst
March 12th 2019


1422 Comments


I'm still not sure if I love or hate their band name.

Digging: 070 Shake - Modus Vivendi



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