Mammoth Storm - Fornjot
Napalm Records
Doom Metal
6 songs (62' 33")
Release year: 2015
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Andy
Surprise of the month

The debut LP from Draconian guitarist Daniel Arvidsson's side project, Mammoth Storm, may come as quite a surprise to Draconian fans, at least those who expected something with any kind of gothic sound, or really any intricacy at all; Fornjot simply doesn't have it. Instead, the focus is on slow and measured crushing via blunt instruments: In this case, Arvidsson's bass and Christer Ström's guitars.

The above isn't a mistype. Arvidsson takes on bass and vocal duties here, not guitars, but Ström makes for an inspired choice as a partner in the stringed instrument department; the power trio's stoner-influenced licks are rough, mountainous things with a chunkiness to them that vibrates right in the base of the listener's skull. Sleep influence is strong here, but the songs have a more varied atmosphere and are certainly more accessible than a Sleep album -- Augurs Echo, for instance, has tremolo picking clinging to the upper range of the melody like cobwebs, countering the rhythm riffs that irresistably crawl along as if the eponymous mammoths are marching through some Pleistocene tundra, squashing anything that gets in their way.

Arvidsson's gritty, clean vocals are double-dubbed onto themselves, slightly offset from each other, and echoing as if heard at the end of a long tunnel so that it's difficult to easily understand the lyrics. They're deep and strong, but they do appear rather like an afterthought compared to the instruments; compare the drawn-out howls of rage from Conan's Phil Coumbe, which has a similar instrumental style in places, but a vastly different vocal treatment. Not that the vocals get much space in either the music or the mix, or are really even needed. Sumerian Cry, a faster and more technical piece than the rest of this fare, is an instrumental, while the title track's riffing is so crunchy and well-synchronized that the bottom notes leap out of speakers or headphones to hit the listener unawares. Drummer Emil Ahlman's slack, stoned-sounding fills drift across the final chords of slower passages to tense up again and become harder-hitting as the riffs get more focused. Hekla is the most atmospheric of the collection here by a decent margin, as the tremolo solos return for a mournful lament on top of the grim finality of the rhythm chords, but the final track, Ancient Apocalypse, is a good runner-up. That's mostly due to the strength of the guitar work, though; they try an organ on this one too, but I felt like it didn't influence the track very strongly and felt tacked-on.

I was trying to think of which doom metal band's sound this album reminded me of the whole time I wrote the review, and then it hit me -- especially on Hekla, I was getting reminded of the early work of The Wounded Kings, a band with different vocals and a substantially more ethereal style, but whose leaden riffing has some of the same elements. Listeners who like that band, and fans of stoner doom with a grimmer, cleaner edge, might want to check Fornjot out.

Killing Songs :
Fornjot, Hekla
Andy quoted 80 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:01 am
View and Post comments