Devouter Records has developed this knack, insight, skill whatever you wish to call it, in finding and releasing music from bands which offer something different and imaginatively impacting within what can be loosely termed as a stoner/psychedelic brief for the label. Horror at Pleasure, the debut release from UK band Early Mammal is no exception. It is a record which takes the senses and thoughts on an intensive sonic journey which is not always easy or pain free but is continually intriguing and exhausting in the most enjoyable way. Brewing a collision of stoner, blues, doom, and progressive invention into a psyche-out storm of sonic intensity and blistering, Early Mammal rides roughshod over the senses whilst rewarding them with weighty sonic enterprise and acid soaked erosive breath.
Formed in 2012, the Camberwell, South London trio of guitarists and vocalist Rob Herian (ex-Elks), drummer Ben Davis (ex-85 Bears), and Turkish born Deniz Belendir on organ and synth take their inspiration from bands across the likes of Captain Beefheart, High Rise, Peter Green, White Hills, Edgar Broughton Band, and Hawkwind, adding these rich spices to their own psyche fire of progressively carved and fuzzed textured burning. As mentioned the album is not always comfortable upon the ear but no pain no gain right!
Opening on the brief instrumental and shimmering air of Right Hand, its ambience sweltering in the sonic heat but restrained in its touch, the release soon evolves into the harsher climes of Final Witch. Immediately raw on the ear with caustically surfaced vocals to match, the track grazes and sears the synapses with a compelling melodic glaze which is sonically heated until it scalds and bubbles upon the senses and a guitar acidity which exhausts and compromises the enterprise at play for even greater satisfaction. With the keys transporting instigated visuals into a spacey kaleidoscope of aural colours and imagery it is a strong start to the album, an unrelenting and unkind embrace which evokes good satisfaction.
Horror at Pleasure is undoubtedly an album you need to undertake the journey of numerous times to fully reap what it offers, the many encounters slowly but forcibly showing the impressive strengths of tracks like Demon or Saint and Coming Back. Admittedly the first of the pair made a mighty persuasion on its first meeting with the ear, its bluesy gait and ravaging intensity ridden by the raw vocal tone and expression of Herian to capture the imagination but after further companionship the song expands into one of the strongest emotion exploiting pinnacles on the album. The second of the two is a fire in an atmospheric wasteland, the chilled solitude soaked ambience the home to an alluring emotive guitar narrative which sparks more vivid feelings in its short but inciting instrumental life.
The further into the release the more impressive and irresistibly tempting it is, the likes of To Find Me Gone with its Stones like fiery breath and Checking The Bullshitter’s Queen, a song which flames around the ear with an inventive sonic script to light up the air with cascades of intrusive but enthralling cunning invention, the pair conspiring with many others to enflames and push the limits of passion on to greater responses. The finest moment on the giant soundscape that is Horror At Pleasure comes with Resurrection Men. The track canters along with feisty intent and energetic urgency without fully unleashing all its intensity, keeping some back to frequent and stalk the shadows which wrap the track, something the band does across the whole album in truth. It has to be said that though each track is certainly distinct to each other, this song especially ripe in originality it is not always clear why as all songs employ a similar surface abrasion and hellacious near on spiteful scuzzy energy and presence which is borne from the same sonic seed. They do stand apart though and Resurrection Man with the fullest furnace of transfixing brain warping ingenuity and mesmeric colours above the rest.
Closed by a companion instrumental in Uncle Scary’s Left Hand to the opening piece, Horror at Pleasure is a strongly impressive release. Though the album overall did not exactly ignite the strongest furnace inside for its endeavours, poking the dormant embers into inconsistent eruptions, one senses it is just a matter of time before Early Mammal do achieve that, but for many others they will have made that break through with this wholly pleasing feast of sonic alchemy one suspects.
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