Artist: Mammoth Volume
Release Title: The Cursed Who Perform the Larvagod Rites
Label: Blues Funeral Recordings
Release Date: 19 August 2022
Location: Lysekil, Sweden
Digital Price: $7 USD
Written by Yari Wildheart
I recently happened across this new Mammoth Volume release titled The Cursed Who Perform the Larvagod Rites via the Instagram account of Purple Sage PR, and I knew I had to cover this release right away from the album art alone. Depicting what I can only assume is the titular Larvagod, we see a massive red wormlike creature coiled around and through a giant smoking skull, as a dark figure beneath, on the top of a pyramid, conducts the rites required to bring forth the Larvagod. It’s a hell of a piece, and I can’t stop looking at it.
If you’re not familiar with Mammoth Volume, they’re a band from a small Swedish town (and I mean small, with only 7600 people) called Lysekil. Formed in 1996, they were a pioneer in the stoner rock movement and have no doubt inspired a generation in Sweden, especially with their progressive approach to stoner rock. There’s shades of Kyuss here of course, but with all the unusual melodic passages and proggy sections, occasional jazz stylings, tempo changes and even balladic work, there’s an obvious influence from prog rock bands like Yes as well. Despite their influences, Mammoth Volume truly have a unique sound like no other, and it’s one that you must not miss out on, even if you’ve never heard any stoner or prog rock before.
The members of the band are Jörgen “Aston” Andersson on vocals, Daniel Gustafsson on guitars and keys, Kalle Berlin on bass, and Jörgen’s brother Nicklas handling drums and percussion (and also vocals). The four recorded some demos and sessions in the 00s and 10s but realistically had a lengthy hiatus, re-activating in 2019 with a mission to really get serious with their comeback. And boy, they did, with this first official release in over 20 years.
Each member of the band does a great job, but hell – Gustafsson’s key work is one of those aspects of modern Mammoth Volume that really makes them stand out. When you put on the first track The Kuleshov Effect, you’ll notice shades of that work, but it isn’t until you get just a little deeper in, with tracks like Diablo IV that the unusual peppiness of the keyboards in this album really kick in. They give things a unique sound, sometimes triumphant, sometimes a bit jolly, and in combination with the guitar work makes this album sound almost like something George Clinton might produce if he ever decided to try his at stoner rock album. This isn’t just stoner rock; it actually sounds at times like it’s entering the realm of p-funk.
That vibe continues through the album. Opening with some funky as hell rhythmic wah’ing, you instantly know you’re in the funktopus’ garden when you hit the fourth track, titled Want to Join Us? Come Back Later! Almost halfway through, we get some great electronic slides, followed by some great layered guitars. Other elements of the track such as the acoustic type guitarwork and what sounds like tambourines occasionally popping up gives this track a bombastic, arab-influenced type of sound, complete with what almost sounds like use of the always lovely Arabic & Spanish type scales.
That guitarwork lends a certain soul to The Cursed Who Perform the Larvagod Rites, which really becomes evident at the mid point of the album in Osteoporos. Sometimes this track feels like what would happen if Carlos Santana decided to really get heavy, with its soulful strings and wistful vocals. A Lullaby of Doom has that same sort of feel, with that wonderful Santana-like guitar coming back in again, noodling around throughout the track. There’s a nice pacing and progression to this track, and just as samples talking about trying to relax would indicate, this is perhaps the most relaxing track on the album. Yes, even with the heavier moments – it’s that kind of relaxation where you’ve hit that vibe, that casual rocking mood where you’re just along for the ride, enjoying every moment.
The Cursed Who Performed The Larvagod Rites is a brilliant comeback for Mammoth Volume. Given their influence in the early days of stoner rock, this is a band that has already made its mark on modern artists. Yet somehow, they have returned over 20 years later equipped with a totally new sound, blending genres and styles in ways that surely will influence a generation of artists once again. It’s actually quite astonishing to think about how this being a re-debut of sorts, it is possibly just the beginning. Don’t miss this release.
I hope you enjoy The Cursed Who Performed The Larvagod Rites.
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