The fourth LP in Rocket Recordings’ Collisions series of split releases finds Italy’s occult psych monsters Mamuthones going head to head with demented UK sprawlers Evil Blizzard. The former incorporate fresh elements of VU-style drone rock and Byrne/Eno rhythmic clatter on four new tracks while the latter offer up the thunderous circular intensity of "Sacrifice", calling on kindred spirits Teeth Of The Sea for some suitably unhinged remix action.
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Psych rock officially needs more cowbell. The opening track on this split between Italian front-siders Mamuthones and flipside naysayers Evil Blizzard starts in a jubilant frame of mind, with Mamuthones’ percussionist shaking up proceedings quite literally: his drums respond gleefully to the bass groove being repositioned, and everything kinda just feels like a party. There’s some psych squall off in the corner, of course, and eventually that comes in full force. To be honest, though, these dudes kinda sound like psych rock’s answer to early Beck; their sound is sporadic and silly, winking with every little detail: the chainsaw guitar that cuts through “Don’t Be Choosy” is noise for the sake of noise, and the vocal inflections sound kinda ridiculously Offspring. Mamuthones are proficient and keep a rhythm well, but mainly they’re a lot of fun.
I’m very appreciative of Evil Buzzard’s contribution to this split, which offers a more dead-faced approach to things: their marching vocal chant of “Sacrifice!” is relayed with much the same force of the people’s “Crucify him!” chant in Jesus Christ Superstar. With its crunchy guitars and meandering vocal echo, the song has the kind of cartoonish brand of ominous most psych rock gives out: there’s even a couple of “woh!” coos bouncing off the walls. Psych rock, these days: at least it’s got a sense of humour.
10/10 ian robertson Customer review, 16th January 2015
Italian Occult Psychedelia’s Mamuthones is the project of Alessio Gastaldello, founder and ex drummer of Jennifer Gentle. After leaving the band in 2007, Alessio, helped by different musicians, put out several albums under the Mamuthones moniker for Italian avant-garde labels like A Silent Place and Boring Machines.
Opening track ‘I’ve Gotta Be’ has a compelling rythmic vibe, which takes these ears back to 1993 with repetitious shades of ‘Acperience’ by Hardfloor. It builds and twists and weaves, taking you to the edge, unravelling just before delivering that final push. Closing vocal sample, “I’ve gotta be just what I am”, says it all. ‘Don’t Be Choosy’ is one of those insidious tracks that feels like it’s been part of your psyche since you crawled out of the primordial soup. It’s got it all, ‘Sister Ray’ VU-esque guitar and vocals, demented cajun swamp-soaked delirious harmonica fuzz, and a backbeat that will have you bouncing off the walls. It is so infectious, you might just need a tetanus and or a malaria shot after listening to it.
‘Holy Ghost People’ is underscored with a blaxploitation / Booker T & The MG’s funkadelic groove. The vocal sample “speaking in tongues”, an intoned watchword for the hauntology of this esoteric, occult psychedelic sub-genre. What’s not to love about a band who pithily describe themselves as, “A SINGING DRUMMER AND 4 BASSISTS…. THE END!!!” Founded by said singing drummer, Mark Whiteside, and a name spawned by an Ozzy Osbourne LP, so it was written that Evil Blizzard would unleash themselves upon an unsuspecting world.
Live performance mainstay, ‘Sacrifice’ is delivered here in two distinct guises, initially in “normal” Evil Blizzard mode, followed by a remix from Rocket Recordings stalwarts, Teeth Of The Sea. ‘Sacrifice’ succinctly delivers the Evil Blizzard credo, a hypnotic groove which literally redefines the term drum and bass, a vocal delivery evocative of a nascent John Lydon, all topped off with a Hawkwind like cherry on the top.
In many ways this track feels just as vital in redefining the current sonic landscape, as Leftfield-Lydon’s ‘Open Up’ did, back in ’93. ‘Teeth Of The Sea‘s Offering Mix’ is everything we have come to expect from TOTS, layers textured in every conceivable hue from the sparse to the opulent. The opening piano keys, eloquently suggestive of some ghoulish horror fare from yesteryear, set the tone for the unfolding diabolical ritual. Hope, in the form of a plaintive trumpet, briefly flickers light on this dark place, before dissolving in a sacrificial chant and the anguished cries of lost souls, heralding an abrupt end.
Ultimately, the constituent parts to this whole, coalesce around that trademark efficacious formula that defines the success of Rocket Recordings. Their peerless ability to meld the elemental and ephemeral components of “psychedelia” and “dance” music, is again a seemingly effortless triumph...
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