Mammoth Salmon, Internet EP 1 & 2: Caught a Case of Green Lung

Granted, it’s not much of a shocker these days when one encounters a heavy act based out of Portland, Oregon, but that scene continues to thrive on the diversity of those that make it up. For as many groups as there are coming out of that part of the country, there isn’t a “Portland sound” as much as one might easily be defined by the influence of the likes of Red Fang or YOB (yes, I know YOB are from Eugene; still relatively close), who’ve obviously had an impact but not at the sacrifice of newer bands’ individuality. In the case of the duo of bassist/guitarist/vocalist Paul Dudziak and drummer Mitch Meidinger, who got together under the moniker of Mammoth Salmon early in 2012, the bent isn’t so much on mining the tactics of well known acts as it is searching out their own niche within an overarching sense of stomp and tonal largesse. To date, Mammoth Salmon have two EPs — Internet EP and Internet EP 2 — both of which were recorded by Mike Anzalone at Studio 1414 and mastered by Adam Pike, and both of which show how the two-piece so readily defies the notion that more personnel equals a bigger sound, the heavy landings of “Self Induced” calling for immediate acquiescence in the form of fervent, repeated nod.

Neither Internet EP nor its sequel, which may well have been recorded at the same time, overstays its welcome, and even on the first, which marked their debut as a band when it was released in December, Mammoth Salmon show a bit of diversity in their taking on post-Sleep and early-High on Fire grooving, Dudziak leading uniformly with the riffs, but Meidinger adding such visceral punctuation to the opening “Narcotic Delirium” as to be as necessary a presence as his comprising 50 percent of the band’s lineup would lead one to believe. The grooves are familiar, but thick, and when Dudziak comes in with the first vocals of “Self Induced,” he touches on toughguy brashness and winds up hinting at some of the blown-out King Buzzo-isms that make themselves felt on the longer, more wah-coated  “Hypnotic Transference,” arguably the most “stoner” of the big-riff twosome’s first EP inclusions, picking up with jagged guitar after the instrumental build at the end of “Self Induced” has paid off and subsided. Here too, the band seems like a nascent entity, but the bass-heavy lo-fi vibe feels dragged right from the slopes of Sleep’s Holy Mountain and I’m not going to complain about that.

If you told me Internet EP and Internet EP 2 weren’t recorded at the same time, I’d believe it. It’s easy to read some sonic growth within the material and the hammering out of Dudziak‘s tones, and Meidinger‘s drums sound tinnier in the cymbals the second go around. The three tracks — “Nothing Follows,” “Green Lung” and “Magnetic Fields of Radiant Light” — are also longer than their counterparts from the earlier release, though the methodology they follow of having two songs roughly the same length followed by one longer closer remains intact. Immediately as well, “Nothing Follows” starts off Internet EP 2 with a more dynamic songwriting feel and changes in volume and tempo at which the first three tracks seemed to have not yet arrived. “Green Lung” has a fitting stoner bounce and tangles with more individualized vocals before the song comes to a fit of grandiose hits and riffs on the way to returning back to its verse after an instrumental jam, which is something that “Self Induced,” righteous though it was, did not do. A brake-slam slowdown caps “Green Lung” and the 7:11 “Magnetic Fields of Radiant Light” commences with a patient instrumental unfolding leading after the first minute-and-a-half to a stretch of more stomping crash from Meidinger and an aggressive verse from Dudziak.

The song is built up and dismantled back to the jagged, emphatic strums from whence it came, and the push renewed, vocals following the guitar rhythm in clear, structured patterns until a change to the ending section brings a long ring-out and drone, a lurching progression of similar meter to that of “Green Lung”‘s ending rounding out the last minute with an extra coating of feedback for good measure. No doubt there’s a lot about Mammoth Salmon that seems to indicate their awareness of what’s going on around them in Portland, but as has been the case time and again with that region, nothing in the six tracks of these two releases feels overwhelmingly redundant in terms of acts come before. If anything, Mammoth Salmon are distinguished by their more traditionalist stoner metal aspects, though as they show even in the formative material — and particularly with the aesthetic growth from the first EP to the second — they’re by no means limited to that.

Mammoth Salmon, Internet EP 2 (2013)

Mammoth Salmon on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Salmon on Bandcamp

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