Saturday, 11 April 2015

Mammoth Mammoth - 'Volume IV: Hammered Again' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 27 March 2015
Label: Napalm Records

‘Volume IV: Hammered Again’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1.  Life’s A Bitch
2.  Lookin´ Down The Barrel
3.  Electric Sunshine
4.  Fuel Injected
5.  Black Dog
6.  Promised Land 
7.  Reign Supreme
8.  Sick (Of Being Sick)
9.  Hammered Again
10. High as a Kite
11. Alcohol (Bonus Track)

Mammoth Mammoth is

Ben Couzens | Guitars
Mikey Tucker | Vocals
Frank Trobbiani | Drums
Pete Bell | Bass


Honesty, in a position such as this, is everything. When reviewing an album we writers are tasked with listening to the music in question impartially, describing it colourfully and giving you a true-to-life flavour of what it sounds like along with our opinions of the release – and those opinions must be well balanced. And so, if you asked me for my opinion on Mammoth Mammoth’s fourth record, ‘Hammered Again,’ after only my first spin, my honest opinion would be one of great disappointment, of an expectation that fell flat and that my initial excitement fizzling out. The Australian band is one I am greatly fond of. Their brand of rock n’ roll is bullshit proof and as rough as a hangover after a night out on the town with the Toxic Twins. Their sound was once aptly described as “AC/DC taking mushroom with Motörhead,” and it’s a sound that, for me, always hits the spot. Their previous album especially, the raucous ‘Hell’s Likely,’ was astoundingly good fun. But after my first listen of ‘Hammered Again’ I was very let down. In fact, I didn’t even make it through the entire album, it just seemed flat, lacking in that skull bashing revelry and hell-bent magic in which their previous records had in droves. But ask me now, after god knows how many spins at ASBO-invitingly loud volumes and I’ll tell you that this album is the dog’s bollocks.

Sure, there is little in the way of ingenuity in Mammoth Mammoth’s sound, but they take the already emphatic rock n’ roll formula and pour in added dynamite, ripping apart your speakers so brilliantly in the process. There are countless bands doing what these guys are in resurrecting the sounds of rock’s supposed glory days, and so it takes a special band to stand out from the crowd. On ‘Hammered Again,’ Mammoth Mammoth do just that, unleashing riffs with menace, even flirting with sludge metal on the belligerent ‘Promised Land’ which is a brutal sucker punch of a song. Its leading riff is a pile driver of down tuned, unapologetic grunting, moulded to a template more in keeping with rock’s blues based foundations. That infusion is devastating and is a highlight in a record packed to the rafters with hellishly fun moments to raise a smile to even the most miserable of bastards.

The thing is with these Melbournites is that they manage to cram their hard rock, glam, doom, stoner, psychedelic, blues and sludge influences onto one bite size palette – and such variety is never overbearing, it just makes sense. From the rollicking opener of ‘Life’s A Bitch,’ with its poignant and light hearted refrain of “life’s a bitch and then you die,” to the final track’s doom and blues laden psychedelic forage into the edifices of your twisted brain, the album is a complete and utter triumph.        

‘Lookin’ Down The Barrel’ digs up the corpse of Rocks era Aerosmith before sticking a whisky in one hand and a spliff in the other. It’s part rambunctious rock n’ roll, part stoner friendly, smoke shrouded stonerism with a chorus which encapsulates the band’s signature rollick.
‘Electric Sunshine’ meanwhile capes itself in a slower, more grinding tempo with contagious lyrics and ‘Fuel Injected’ is an adrenaline packed punk rock number that conjures up images of driving down a barren desert road, with this blasting at full volume. The gears are sifted through yet again with ‘Black Dog’ which, with its foot pressed firmly on the accelerator is absolutely top drawer.

For sludgier, guitars-so-hairy-they-should-have-their-own-facial-hair moments, ‘Promised Land’ is a guttural crowd pleaser. Led by a riff thicker than every single guest to have ever appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show, it’s innately blues laden to the core, nailed with an uplifting chorus, is what really gets the blood pumping. By the time ‘Reign Supreme’s’ trebly, Motörhead circa Iron Fist bass riff makes a dart for your ear drums, I’m left with a great big grin slapped across my face.

I can’t really recall the moment this album clicked with me – the moment, like a bully emptying your pockets, flipped me upside down and shook me senseless – but I’m so glad it happened. As someone who has followed this band for a while, I really wanted to dig this album. And yes, it took longer to convince me than I’d hoped, but my patience has been rewarded with a definite go to album for some time. Top work lads.

Words: Phil Weller

‘Volume IV: Hammered Again’ is available here

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