Headbanger’s law: If a country, region or city exists, there’s a metal band there. Greece isn’t a place you hear about much in terms of mainstream music, but it does have metal, doom outfit Acid Mammoth being one of the most prominent examples. They’re a fairly new act, having formed in 2015 and released their debut album the following year, nevertheless they’ve quickly built a name for themselves in Greece and beyond. Now in 2021 comes their third release Caravan, an album consisting of only five songs but enough punch (and duration) to make up for its diminutive track list.
“Berserker” opens up the record with a slow but thick and percussive build, gradually twisting into its full hypnotic, stonery form as its grinding drums and guitars pound away at the brain. “Psychedelic Wasteland” starts off on a similar note with its dark percussive bludgeons, winding up through a long, chugging stretch into a wonderfully Master Of Reality-esque retro plod. “Ivory Towers” is another impenetrable wall of distortion, slamming and fuzzing along in textbook doom/sludge fashion, setting the stage for the 11-minute title track which harkens back to Alice In Chains’ self-titled “tripod” album with its drear and relentless heaviness (the song “Sludge Factory” comes to mind the most). Finally there is “Black Dust”, which predictably doesn’t fall too far from the tree as far as the album goes but fits like a glove as a closer; not as many vocals and a lot more glorious, downtuned noise that compounds to a logical peak, then fizzles out.
What Acid Mammoth brings to the table may not reinvent the wheel, but it stands out as part of a distinct niche that’s been preserved over the decades. They’ve staked out their place (for now) in the metal ecosystem, and hit all the checkboxes for what one is supposed to do in doom or sludge. In that respect, it’s a satisfying sonic effort, and whatever artistic evolution they embark on from this point will be worth looking forward to.