Mammoth Grinder, billed from Texas, are a death metal trio comprising members of the crossover thrash act Iron Reagan and another hardcore flavoured thrash act, Power Trip, who received many accolades in the music press last year for their second album, “Nightmare Logic”.
“Cosmic Crypt” is the band’s fourth full length album, arriving five years after their last effort in 2013, “Underworlds”. The band are yet another modern-day act exploring the more rootsy side of death metal. So vast is the world of Death metal these days, that it can be considered a larger umbrella in its own right with many sub-genres that followed, making its own family tree of despair. So, within the myriad of versions and extensions; from Brutal Death metal, to blackened, to progressive, technical and beyond, the likes of Mammoth Grinder, Necrot and Gatecreeper are finding freshness from the old school.
Gatecreeper and Mammoth Grinder are similar in the sense that their take on Death metal is very much punk and hardcore infused, like the styles originating in Sweden with Dismember in particular coming to mind.
Boasting analogue recording, onto magnetic tape, the nostalgic feel of the writing and song structures are only further strengthened by this archaic technique. (I always thought that there wasn’t too much wrong sonically with older records, before digital techniques took over).
The band haven’t strayed too far from what fans would come to expect from a Mammoth Grinder album only this time the songs appear more refined and the sequencing of the album ties the varying styles/tempos together seamlessly. Whether it’s simply feedback from the guitar flowing over from the end of one track to the start of another, or a dramatic shift in tempo or key, the thought process behind track sequencing is often agonised over to ensure maximum delivery. They’ve done well in this department as well.
Mammoth Grinder bring new meaning to the phrase, “Power trio’. With the term’s definition coming into full force with the likes of Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 2018 and Mammoth Grinder are a ‘new level’ power trio. A steroids power trio.
The album opens with “Grimmenstein”, a typically tongue in cheek title that sets the imagination off into weird and dark corners. Beginning with atmospherics that sound like an alien world at peace, within thirty seconds the band launch into the opening riff, disturbing the peace, complemented by its classic ‘Buzz-saw’ guitar sound. The sound made famous in Sweden by Entombed first, but then many others. Drums follow, phrased at first before leaping into a typical, traditional death metal beat which is essentially borrowed from Punk. Vocals are at sewer depths and caked in reverb, delivered in short, rhythmic and cavernous sounding bursts.
It is this punk theme mentioned earlier that runs throughout the entire album, a convention that ties it more to the early Swedish death metal acts even more so than their American counterparts from the early days.
The opening three tracks are an exciting and energetic start to what is a really solid death metal album. Particularly track three, “Blazing Burst”. Fast paced, sheer outrage. Vocals reminiscent of Todd Jones from Nails, only deeper. Guitars jump up in the mix between vocal bursts to provide an interesting offset in the music.
“Superior Firepower” was one of a few tracks featured and given an early tease style release. This is one of the stronger tracks. A relentless pounder that shifts the tempo up a few notches to alter the complexion of the song, before crashing back to the initial speed with equal effectiveness. The clever transitions of speed/tempo showcasing the musicality of the band in full flow. “Human Obsolete” has a winding and whirling melody to the guitars that reminded me of Necroticism era Carcass. Bringing an ugly beauty to the proceedings.
The album is certainly for fans of death metal both old and new. The album is full of energy and primitive power, song after song.
Members of the band self-recorded the album with the help of others in the studio including Joel Grind from Toxic Holocaust on mastering duties. They have achieved a very genuine styling to that of some of the early progenitors of death metal that helps complete the nostalgic catharsis provided by “Cosmic Crypt”.
A solid outing which develops the more I listen, parts from the guitars, or more melody will appear from the bass, emerge from the mud and mire that the atmosphere of the album generates. It only serves to be a great addition to the band’s discography.