Better late than never as the saying goes. This album actually came out in 2012 and somehow passed us by at the Shaman’s lair but here it is now and thoroughly deserving of some bandwidth!!!
Larman Clamor is the brain child of German artist extraordinaire Alex Von Wieding, the man behind artwork for many bands such as Monster Magnet, Karma To Burn, Enos, Sun Gods In Exile, Gozu and a million other Small Stone bands. So is there a charge of nepotism here with this release being on Small Stone? Hell no, this album stands tall on its own two feet.
Far from being the heavy, stoner rocking groove fest you might be expecting, this is a self contained, one man unit that explores the depths of swampy Mississippi Delta blues. Von Wieding plays all the instruments himself, from guitars to percussion to occasional banjo and harmonica as well as topping it all off with a guttural, rough hewn voice that speaks of a man beyond his physical years.
A lazy comparison would be Seasick Steve but Larman Clamor is a far darker, more sinister beast as Von Wieding creates hypnotic blues drones backed up by sparse percussion and gritty, other worldly guitar. Occasionally on tracks such as “The Mudhole Stomp” he evokes the vibe of someone like Five Horse Johnson with its funky groove and tighter structure but for the most part this is the sound of a man following his own inner muse…and if you’ve ever seen examples of his artwork you will understand that his vision is unique, bordering on the extraterrestrial. Probably a more suitable point of comparison would be to look back to some of the veteran bluesmen of yore, people such as John Lee Hooker with his insistent boogie or Lightning Hopkins. There’s also a touch of Dr John’s voodoo blues vibe and dare I say a little of Tom Waits’ in Von Wieding’s throaty growl.
Larman Clamor certainly know how to create an atmosphere and know the value of space in music. Each track is layered with the minimum instrumentation required to achieve maximum impact…if full drums are required then so be it but if it’s just a shaker or some wood block to keep some rhythm then that’s what you get and it does make for a diverse and interesting album in a genre that can be prone to repetition.
This may be a bit of a curve ball to most followers of Small Stone’s output but one that they should be prepared to catch and wholeheartedly embrace. It has just enough rock and roll grime under its fingernails to keep the hardcore faithful happy and the line drawn between them and someone such as Five Horse Johnson isn’t as far as you may think. Rock and roll, heavy metal, stoner rock, doom metal…they all built their foundations on the blues so take a look at something that springs far closer to the source.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall