Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard – Yn Ol I Annn (New Heavy Sounds)
Along with Boss Keloid, OHHMS and Bast, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have helped to raise the profile (and quality) of UK doom over the last decade. And like their contemporaries, they use the Sabbathian blueprint as the jump-off point for new explorations, rather than the gospel.
2017’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll was a landmark record for both the British scene and the Welsh outfit themselves. If Geezer Butler had played bass for Hawkwind instead of Lemmy, the legendary space lords might have written something akin to it. And Yn Ol I Annn (Welsh for Return To The Underworld) takes another step into the beyond, in more ways than one. Its arguably more accessible than its predecessor: the title track, for instance, is what grunge could have been if Seattle was found in the outer rings of Saturn, rather than Washington State.
Yet at the same time, the album – the third part of a trilogy which began with 2015’s Noeth Ac Anoeth, embraces a vivid palette, where titanic riffs collide with cosmic synths and hypnotic rhythms pulse like the engine of an ancient alien craft. Want to hurtle millions of years into the future, or burrow through time into earth’s long distant past? Katyusha should be blasting through your speakers while you take the trip…
And then we come to singer Jessica Bell: her otherworldly, ethereal vocals wrap around tracks such as The Spaceships Of Ezekiel, and then permeate through each sonic layer. It’s breathtaking. There isn’t anyone on the metal scene doing anything that could compare. And it’s another element that makes Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard one of the UK’s most fascinating acts.
Yn Ol I Annn offers a rich tapestry of astral art, something which is difficult to absorb in one sitting. But just inhale it, let it flow over you a few times… and it will take you on a voyage like no other.