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Music Review

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Yn Ol I Annwn


Artist: Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard
Label: New Heavy Sounds
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 01 March 2019

New Heavy Sounds releases Yn Ol Annwn (Return to the Underworld), by Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. It is the third part of a trilogy of albums – their first intergalactic voyage – following Noeth Ac Anoeth (2015) and Y Proffwyd Dwyll (2017). The band from Wales consists of Paul Michael Davies on synthesizer and guitar, Jessica Ball on vocals, bass and synthesizer, Wez Leon on synthesiser and guitar, James Carrington on synthesiser and drums, and Stuart Sinclair. The music can be described as Space Rock, incorporating Soundtrack music (in particular John Carpenter), Acoustics, Psychedelia, and a large dollop of Doom.

How does all this pan out, you might ask? 'Tralfmadore' acts as an introduction to the whole, with a building keyboard riff and a hissing rush. 'The Spaceships of Ezekiel' has electronic noises of old (bass synth?) and  a deep riff which takes over, with female vocals low in the mix. Another bass and synth takes control after one verse. Although this is top drawer weird, you can’t help getting hooked-up and dragged along to the asylum. Is it my imagination or do the vocals become increasingly prominent? 'Fata Morgana' has a trebly guitar intro which forms the basis of this track. It’s slower, with husky and echoing vocals. A second guitar is entered into the fray, playing a melody which is similar but noticeably different to the other. I have to say it works well. The entire thing sounds quite ghostly. Then the song suddenly becomes much heavier with a riff and full band feel, whilst maintaining the same pace of the vocals. Like track 2, after a while the experience becomes quite hypnotic. Towards the end of the song electronica once again becomes more prominent to enable a cosmic outro.

'Du Bist Jetzt Nicht in der Zu' begins with a melancholy electronic intro and bass string accompaniment. The vocals come in very melodically and are joined by strings and melody guitar. I expected this song to explode like the previous two, but it is pleasantly surprising to have this one play-out as a ballad or sorts. 'Yn Ol i Annwn' hits with the shock of a heavy, full band sound right from the outset, which brings an appreciative smile to the face. The vocals are, again, plaintive and reverberant. They are even slightly layered in this one. The repeated riff drives this along so that, when weird noises and a guitar solo join the party, the mind itself helps keep the direction of the back beat. 'Katyusha' is a moderate-paced typical Doom-laden full band piece, which then gradually emits keys and electronica. This is the longest track on offer here, and it allows MWWB to really let the mood run and experiment with the outcome. This has a free reign feeling, as if it’s a jam and being made-up and they go along. If this is the outcome of active experimentation, artistes should be going down this route more often. The spaceship weird noises come in about two-thirds of the way through. This is a great instrumental which demands repeated plays.

The opening of 'The Majestic Clockwork' sounds very much like a Black Sabbath riff. A break changes the format in an instant. For a moment it resembles Soundtrack music, before the heaviness and vocals arrive simultaneously. If I’m honest this track is weak compared with what has come before. 'Five Days in the Abyss' wraps things up for this journey. It has an atmospheric, somewhat Celtic opening which summons melancholy, before Thor’s mythical hammer is slammed down. A repeated riff is backed by haunting vocals which return to the opening echoing sadness… and then back again to the Doom-laden heavy sound. This time the two opposite approaches are meshed. Guitars break through the introspection and play the track into an electronic discordance.

Any fans of classic Hawkwind, Doom and Black Metal will surely love this.


Ty Power

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