An epic journey in time at almost an hour and a half and a rich exploit in sound, Outlander the new album from Norwegian rockers Mammüth is one unforgettable proposition already easy to suggest will make regular appearances on end of year best of lists. The band’s sound is a thick and flavoursome not forgetting imposingly heavy invasion of stoner metal and quite addictive within the walls of their striking new album.
Hailing from Drammen, Mammüth emerged in 2007 forged in its members love for stoner, space rock, metal, doom, drone, and hard rock. They are flavours which entangled to make the quintet’s debut album of 2012, Gone with the Wolves, a well-received and praised encounter. Since then the band has honed their writing and sound while breeding open maturity in all aspects, all fuel to the instantly and increasingly impressive Outlander.
Produced by the band and mixed and mastered by Martin Skar at Skar Productions and Norsk Lydstudio, Outlander instantly draws and grips attention with the opening strains of Circling Vultures, its initial wired grooves and senses rapping rhythms nothing less than predacious. With just as hungry riffs in tow, the potent bait only strengthens with the earnest vocals shared by rhythm guitarist Stian Svorkmo and synth player Steffen Overaa. Their union is superb, magnetism in its own right and matched by the rabidly writhing yet controlled sounds around them. Like a fusion of Mastodon, High on Fire, and Down yet not such its and indeed the whole album’s individual character, the track is manna to an appetite for heavy, voracious rock ‘n’ roll and a great tease for what is to come.
The compelling dynamic beats of David Hjellum lead in next up Dead Man’s Trail, a track swiftly as addictive as its predecessor and unveiling a web of varied flavours in its bold trespass. The bass of Stig Johansen growls with almost bestial temptation, its dark lures contrasted but matched in salacious intent by the gripping enterprise of lead guitarist Christian Schei. Drama soaks every twist and turn, accentuating each inventive note and atmospheric breeze blowing across the track’s serpentine landscape whether melodically calm or tempestuously intense.
That mellower air blows through the following Fields of Bones in voice and music though there is always a certain volatility waiting to catch which it does with a dirtier, grouchier eruption. Virulently catchy and manipulatively fascinating, the song is quite superb and if the album collapsed in on itself thereon in, with its two companions, would make Outlander a notable recommendation.
Of course the album does not slip from its heights, Fortuneteller and God Eater just as beguiling as they devour the senses. The first, and one of the candidates for best song, is a relentlessly nagging irritancy on ears, riffs and rhythms alone harassing quick submission for its proposal with vocals again pure raw seduction in the midst of the guitars tenaciously resourceful webbing. Its successor has a more concussive touch tempered by grooves which crawl under the skin with primal desire, again everything offered as predacious as it is irresistible.
Through the early atmospheric suggestiveness of Hadrin’s Wall, a lure which grows more invasive and portentous as the band bears its gladiatorial dexterity, and the even more confrontational, certainly cranky, Heirophant, the real world is an even more distant reality, band and album consuming all attention soon gripped even tighter by the senses enveloping, discord blessed Lightyears. With grooves which worm into the psyche with ease and a tempestuousness that roars upon the senses from within a mercurial sonic cyclone, the song is just majestic yet still eclipsed by the mighty Monstrosity. With waspish grooves swarming the senses from the first second and vocals buffeting ears with their emotive holler, the track soon steals best moment upon Outlander in our ears, its voluminous rock ‘n roll manna.
The album’s title track finds a somewhat moderate attack in comparison to the previous track but as expected with a threat of a brutal eruption at any time. It is a peril which remains lurking around as melodies and harmonies radiate though it does have a say on the growing energy and flurry of the encounter before the extensive creative theatre of Space Ghost unfolds. With an eager lilt towards thrash metal at times across its sinuously textured evocation, preying on body and imagination at every turn and there are plenty across its nine minutes plus, immersion into the song’s crafty tale is easy.
Uncharted Waters completes the exceptional adventure of Outlander, its thick shadows and dark depths as transfixing as the sound as they colour. An array of flavours twisted into a coiled spring, nothing predictable escaping as it tenses and discharges its enterprise, the track is an enthralling finale to one remarkable album to which we can give numerous references to others for certain moments but really only embraces its own uniqueness.
There will be many important propositions across 2018, encounters which will guide its musical direction and Mammüth with Outlander has come up with the first.
Outlander is available now through Negative Vibe Records across most online stores.
Pete RingMaster 18/01/2018
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright