Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Yn Ol I Annwn: Mirages and Beginnings

Posted in Reviews on February 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

mammoth weed wizard bastard yn ol i annwn

In a few short years, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have made themselves one of the most essential up and coming heavy acts in the UK. The Wrexham five-piece of vocalist Jessica Ball, guitarists Paul Michael Davies and Wes Leon, bassist Stuart Sinclair and drummer James Carrington began their assault of ethereal and cosmic doom with Nachthexen (review here) in 2015, and since then, they have issued two albums — 2015’s Noeth Ac Anoeth (review here) and 2016’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll (review here) — and a split last year with Slomatics (review here), each one taking a mark stepped forward from its predecessors. The latest footprint left by their ongoing progression is the eight-track/65-minute Yn Ol I Annwn on New Heavy Sounds, which finds the five-piece not only continuing to embrace Welsh language for titles — the translation is “back to go” according to a major internet company’s matrix — but actively pushing their style to new degrees of individualism.

For those who’ve been listening, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have each time out managed to surpass their prior work — in cosmic doom, one thinks of the run Ufomammut had earlier in their career, say from 2004-2010, as a comparison point — while remaining prolific and building significant momentum behind them. Yn Ol I Annwn feels like a moment of arrival, and for more than just its monolithic hour-plus runtime. In the four-minute “Du Bist Jetzt Nicht in der Zukunft” — “you are not now in the future,” in German — Ball‘s echoing and ethereal melody tops a wave of keyboard that’s boldly poppish, and the penultimate “The Majestic Clockwork” brings in strings to introduce what soon enough becomes its central chugging lumber, adding breadth to an already vast atmosphere, and maybe a bit of humor as well. These are surface impressions, striking on initial listens, but the truth of the band’s evolution runs deeper.

In the wash of effects created by Davies and Leon, and particularly in the emergent use of synth alongside the guitar, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard come into their own with more of a reach than they’ve ever had before, and demonstrate a burgeoning mastery of their approach. Introduced by the John Carpenter-style keyboard pulses of “Tralfamadore” — bonus points for the Vonnegut reference — Yn Ol I Annwn unfurls a multifaceted showcase of craft and performance. It’s not just the dip into synthpop on “Du Bist Jetzt Nicht in der Zukunft,” or the resonant echoing of the prior “Fata Morgana” that makes it so, either. A variety of structure and general approach brings a feeling of movement to the proceedings from the beginning swirls of “The Spaceships of Ezekiel” onward, and as the thickened riffs enter the fray and the first deeply-weighted march soon gets underway with Ball‘s melodic vocals floating overhead, the feeling of consumption arrives early and holds for the duration, even as Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard introduce shifts between shorter songs and longer ones.

Three cuts on Yn Ol I Annwn top 10 minutes: “Fata Morgana” (12:08), “Katyusha” (13:24) and closer “Five Days in the Abyss” (10:12). “The Spaceships of Ezekiel” is the longest of the rest at over eight minutes, and the way the songs are paired two-per-side so as to allow for a double-LP playthrough gives the listener a feeling of never quite being settled. Similar to how they bounce from language to language in their titles — here in English, there Welsh, there German, Russian, fictional, etc. — it’s not as if Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard rev themselves up through a couple shorter tracks and then lumber into extended material and flatline. Side B is only 16 minutes long with “Fata Morgana” — its early subdued guitar and later wash of crushing riffs and nod — and “Du Bist Jetzt Nicht in der Zukunft,” but that’s a pivotal moment in itself in that it reverses the structure to come on sides C and D.

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Simply, it goes longer-to-shorter where sides A, C and D work shorter-to-longer. That reversal, like a brief interlude on some albums or the odd acoustic track or something like that, is enough to give all of Yn Ol I Annwn a feeling of unpredictability to which the actual sound and arrangements correspond. As the band moves through the spacious and mournful title-track and into the instrumental triumph that is “Katyusha,” they mark an outward path for the second of the two LPs that showcases not only the depth of the mix in its layers of keys and guitar, bass and drums, but just how immersive the flow of the album has been up to that point. As dense as their work is and as much as it rolls itself forward in apparent steamroller fashion, it is likewise hypnotic in its repetition — another lesson perhaps from Ufomammut — but worthy of close attention for moments like the post-midpoint chimes in “Katyusha” or the aforementioned cello in “The Majestic Clockwork.”

That later track is would seem to be the apex of Yn Ol I Annwn as it pushes faster in tempo than anywhere else on the album dares to go, Carrington building intensity on his snare hits measure by measure until finally cutting out to a concluding rumble and wave of effects, but “Five Days in the Abyss” answers back in quiet/loud trades that are as otherworldly as any sci-fi influence manifested in the circuitry of its cover art could hope to be. Soft at first, the finale swells for a verse and recedes again, and when the full brunt returns, there’s pretty clearly no coming back. The last march begins shortly before the six-minute mark and ascends to a full wash of vocal melody before a guitar solo comes sweeping to the fore to lead the way out. It is psychedelic and blissful, but still weighted by low end at its fade, though Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard go to the album’s end as gracefully as they entered with “Tralfamadore.”

For all the side-flipping involved in a 2LP, Yn Ol I Annwn is remarkably linear, and the expanse it charts is thoroughly its own. If this is what Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have been moving toward over their prolific half-decade, then it’s easily been worth the journey, but with the glimmers of arrangement manipulation and the affecting emotional crux in the vocals, one does not at all get the sense they are done growing. That is, I’m willing to commit to Yn Ol I Annwn as being their highest achievement to-date, but there remains an open and seemingly ongoing exploration at the root of their sound. Billed as the final act in a trilogy, this may in fact just be the start.

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Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard Set March 1 Release for Yn Ol I Annwn; Preorders up Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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I don’t know if you heard it or not, but the split Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard put out this year with Slomatics, titled Totems (review here), was unbelievably good. Likewise the band’s last long-player, 2017’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll (review here), which followed their 2015 debut, Noeth Ac Anoeth (review here), the goofy-named UK outfit growing more progressive and broader in their reach every time out. Though I’ve heard exactly none of it, I have accordingly high expectations for their next full-length, Yn Ol I Annwn, which is out March 1 and available to preorder now from New Heavy Sounds. The cover art and tracklisting have been posted and you’ll find them below, as per the preorder page at Cargo Records‘ distro site — which, not to tell you your business or anything, you just might want to visit.

They’ve also got a quickie teaser trailer for the record that you can see below, as per the social medias.

Have at you:

mammoth weed wizard bastard yn ol i annwn

MAMMOTH WEED WIZARD BASTARD ‘YN OL I ANNWN’ PRE-ORDER

Titled ‘Yn Ol I Annwn’, Welsh for Return To The Underworld’, it is the third part of the trilogy of albums that began with ‘Noeth Ac Anoeth’ in 2015 and 2017’s ‘Y Proffwyd Dwyll’.

The final phase of the band’s first intergalactic voyage if you will.

The eight songs that comprise this album see the band delve deeper into their collective influences, embracing full on space rock, atmospheric film soundtracks, melancholic acoustic interludes, psychedelia, cosmic moogs and percussion, moments of introspection and light … and of course, large helpings of doom. The fat riffs, big hooks and endless space grooves are all present and correct.

And once again Jessica Ball’s voice glides over it all, both sweet and melancholy, yet this time more assured. A myriad of stacked harmonies and layered vocals weave in and out of the tracks, adding an ‘other-worldly’ melodicism to the songs.

In fact the album as a whole, is very much a sonic journey into some cosmos on the edge of forever. Just turn off the lights, turn up the volume and be transported to dance at the end of time.

The band’s music has developed and been honed over the previous two records, but there is no doubt that they have distilled the essence of MWWB into this one. Previous comparisons to Windhand, Yob, Sleep. or whatever, are rendered completely redundant with ‘Yn Ol I Annwn’.

No one else is pushing the boundaries of heavy like MWWB.

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard sound like Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, full stop.

First pressing is a double vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with 2 colour variants.
Variant 1 in Green/Blue marbled vinyl.
Variant 2 in Amber and red disc vinyl.
Each variant includes is a free download of the entire album.
Main CD package is a 4 panel digipack with booklet

Vinyl Tracklisting:
Side A:
1. Tralfamadore
2. The Spaceships Of Ezekiel

Side B:
3. Fata Morgana
4. Du Bist Jetzt Nicht In Der Zukunft

Side C:
5. Yn Ol I Annwn
6. Katyusha

Side D:
7. The Majestic Clockwork
8. Five Days In The Abyss

CD Tracklisting:
1. Tralfamadore
2. The Spaceships Of Ezekiel
3. Fata Morgana
4. Du Bist Jetzt Nicht In Der Zukunft
5. Yn Ol I Annwn
6. Katyusha
7. The Majestic Clockwork
8. Five Days In The Abyss

MWWB are: Paul Michael Davies, Jessica Ball, Wes Leon, James Carrington, Stuart Sinclair.

Preorder: https://cargorecordsdirect.co.uk/products/mammoth-weed-wizard-bastard-yn-ol-i-annwyn

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Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard & Slomatics, Totems (2018)

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