Monday, 19 May 2014

Mexicoma - Obsidian Monolith - Album Review

West of Memphis cover art

Obsidian Monolith

Self-released, LP version released by Kozmik Artifactz

9 November 2013

The songs:

1. Keep Me Alive
2. Mortified
3. Supersonic Speed
4. Alien Radio
5. Room 101
6. Island Of Ghosts
7. West of Memphis
8. Abyssus Abyssum Invocat
9. Bored Beyond Belief

The band:

Magnus Olsson - vocals
Olle Sjölund - guitar
Peter Norstedt - guitar
Niklas Viberg - guitar
Charlie Dahl - bass guitar
Oskar Melander - drums

Straight out of the white desert that is northern Sweden, Umeå's Mexicoma has just released their second full-length Obsidian Monolith'. I always thought vast expanses of forests covered that are covered in snow for almost half the year brought out bleak, harsh and evil music, but I was wrong. Mexicoma are going full tilt stoner but with a twist. Instead of following genre rules, they step outside the box and in the process expand this particular style in a way I didn't think was possible. One thing that separates the band from most stoner bands is singer Magnus Olsson. He has none of the usual crooning, swaying and whispering kind of style which heavily favoritized desert singers. No instead he's like a pitbull on the loose with a set of Lemmy-balls and it works great! Another important aspect that elevates Mexicoma is the almost total lack of fuzzed out instruments. They appear on occasions but the band has opted to let their big fat riffs have an organic and in-your-face approach...and I love it.

'Keep Me Alive' is probably only one of a couple of songs that gets close to traditional stoner rock. Full throttle from the get-go a super nice rhythm guitar allows the rest of the music freedom to rock hard...and rock hard Mexicoma does! A combination of Motörhead's brutal riff and drum tendencies and Thin Lizzy's guitar harmonies puts 'Mortified' up there in the league of fantastic songs. Amazing that's all I'm saying. 'Supersonic Speed' brings down the speed a bit letting the stoned psychedelic leanings shine through and it's a good, trippy and spacey tune. A bit of Monster Magnet shows it's face in 'Alien Radio'. Fuzzed out guitars, slower tempo but heavy as hell it is both trippy and and punishing at the same time. Dark and foreboding the unrelentless 'Room 101' brings enough riffs to blow Mother Earth to smithereens. Fan-fucking-tastic, you hear!

Starting out kind of schizophrenic, once Magnus belts out 'Island Of Ghots' turns into one of those songs that builds up slowly to have simply pounded you into dust once it's over. A bluesy feel envelopes 'West Of Memphis' throughout mixed with balls-heavy rock it tells the story of the West Memphis Three. A dark depressing tale indeed but the song is really good. The "strangest" song on the album is 'Abyssus Abyssum Invocat'. Claustrophobic and intense is the best explanation I can come up with, and I mean that in the best possible way...if claustrophobic is good, hmm? A deranged guitar line soares above the heavy riffing rhythm guitars which creates all these strange feelings. And all is intensified by Magnus' gravely and brutal voice. My promo copy contains the vinyl version-only track, 'Bored Beyond Belief'. And I suggest you get the LP because ending with this one is a smart move by Mexicoma. They switch between tempos where the verses are slower while the choruses just explodes with the band's take on heavy-ass modern electric blues. A great song if there ever was one!

Being introduced to Mexicoma was very nice and I am happy to know about them. Too many times, really good bands are ignored in favour of fad-of-the-day bands with no substance at all. So to be given 'Obsidian Monolith' by the boss certainly made my day especially since they are fellow Swedes. I recommend you check out their two previous releases, the self-titled full-length debut and the EP, 'Supervoid'. Apart from being great musicians the fact that they are reinventing a genre - sort of - is worthy of praise and recognition, more so since it's done in an awesome way. Get off your asses and get your copy now and join the Mexicoma revolution!

Written by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Bilocation Records for sending us a promo to review. Obsidian Monolith is available to buy on Digital Download and Vinyl Record.

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