ACID MAMMOTH - CARAVAN
Updated: Apr 10, 2021
Stoner doom on a familiar comedown
Stoner doom metal. A subgenre with certain stylistic constraints and not a great deal of elbow room for diversification. It is also desperately over-crowded by so many underground acts all pedalling a fairly standard blueprint of lethargic, bong-induced nihilism although some of the scene's doyens have edged into experimentalism, psychedelia, dark ambient, or black metal territory. None of the above seems to worry Greece's Acid Mammoth whose name, sleeve art, and song titles accurately manage expectations of what is in store sonically. Sure enough this is purist stoner metal that is does not deviate from the well-established lava lamp-lit, slow-motion Sabbathian doom formula.
Berserker is all fuzzed out with a prolapsed, lumbering groove and a vague trippy melody. Languid bluesy chords compete with a fat wobbly wandering base while the caterwauling sneering singing sounds like a trapped Ozzy Osbourne or sometimes even a less gravelly Jus Oborn. Hanging in there at just below a mid-paced tempo, this is the fastest and most tuneful Acid Mammoth get on Caravan and, thereafter, things decelerate to a time-proof glacial creep and warped somnolence. With a sloth-like metabolism Psychedelic Wasteland is awash with lugubrious waves of maudlin guitars and and loitering fuzzy tides. Caravan and Black Dust, meanwhile, emit planetary heaviness and drowsy hypnotism with an overwhelming ponderous despondency. The songs meander in a funereal psychedelic doze with slow, heavy loyalism to late 70's and classic doom.
Caravan is a firmly formulaic stoner metal record. Stylistically this has all the trademark tropes of elephantine, hulking, grief-burdened Black Sabbath heaviness and a familiar narcotic, occultish aesthetic. It is not an explorationist piece of work by any stretch and, while this alone is not necessarily a fault, it is thin on uniqueness or individuality. Also, despite the run-time being 40 minutes the relentlessly sedated doom pace and atmospheric abjection make it feel longer and the songs can take extended wayward detours up their own astral plane. The vocals too, a second tier iteration of a well-established genre style, can at times start to grate. Admittedly, however, much of this is simply the raison detre of the genre which intentionally tends to wallow in its own definitions and defies drastic change or invention. Acid Mammoth also can come up with some cool spacey, psychotropic sections and atmospheres while musically the percussion performance is a standout - so there is potential but thus far there is little to differentiate these blackened bong hits from the rest of the tripped-out pack.