Tue 26th February 2019
I've got a lot of time for Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. From their monolithic monotrack Nachthexen through to last year's mighty split with Slomatics, they already have a solid back catalogue to provide as evidence as to their excellence, and live they can be invigorating.
The reason why they have managed to stand out in not only the ever growing UK scene, but amongst other empyreal natured doom bands internationally, is showcased here on Katyusha. A hammering doom riff batters on your temples, whilst the overlayed synth gently strokes your hair. It wanders off in really proggy angles, with space sounds doubling up on the high times aura for going on a quarter of an hour - it is mesmerisingly bold and kaleidoscopic.
Sadly to report, for the majority of the rest of Yn Ol I Annwn, I'm left underwhelmed. Where they keep it simple, it feels unadventurous, a feeling of having heard this before and better, from Alunah to Ides of Gemini and many other calling points. Elsewhere, where there is an attempt to build haunting or emotional atmosphere, such as the start of Fata Morgana, I don't connect; spirits, pulse nor intrigue raised, and instead it simply wears my patience.
It does feel grand, cosmic yet earthly. But for aiming for a majestic piece of art, which they go a fair stretch along the path to achieve, they may have lost something along the way - great tracks or moments; momentum - to truly cement the experience, instead providing a passable amble through the pieces on display, which for a couple of exceptions, leaves little in the way of any lasting impression.
There is another track of excellence, thankfully allowing me to finish the review, as it does the album, in a positive light. Five Days in the Abyss features orchestral tinkering whispers across a forest floor with vocals that ghost through; a clattering riff disturbs the peace to scatter the birds from the trees. If anyone, it reminds me of the first Electric Mud Generator album, but really this is subtly (and importantly), distinctively different from any of their direct peers.
It is, along with Katyusha, a reminder of the talent and uniqueness that MWWB possess and how they can bring true moments of high and light that shines brighter than most - it is just a shame that to these ears they are not backed up album long.