Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard is dead, long live MWWB!!
No, this isn’t the heartbreaking news that psychedelic doom band Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard is dead, it is in fact, a new dawn for the band, under the shortened moniker of MWWB. No less a band, but the name is worth far less in scrabble these days.
MWWB, as they will, from this moment hence forth be known, are very much still alive and kicking. Even a near fatal encounter with the dreaded Covid plague can’t keep this utter behemoth of a band down. After a year’s delay, while key member Paul Michael ‘Dave’ Davies was recuperating after both Covid, and a stroke, knocking him off his feet, the Wrexham outfit are back, with an absolute firecracker of an album, and what a welcome return it is indeed. Get ready, because The Harvest is the band’s most versatile and evolved escapade yet, and it truly is a treasure to behold.
The Harvest is the fourth album for the band and builds solidly on the foundations set by the previous albums incarnated under their previous moniker. It is nine tracks, full of spooky sci-fi electronica, interlaced with generous splattering’s of doom, sludge, and shoegaze-y goodness. Truly a wonder to behold so let me take you on a little journey…
If you are looking for something as unique as could be, and are completely oblivious to MWWB, then buckle up, as it’s an adventure into the beyond, and back again.
As completely MWWB as can be, nothing has been sacrificed in the evolution of the band, and this album is a testament to that. As always, the gloomy, sludgy backdrop, paves the way for Jessica Ball to enthrall the listener with her dreamy, rich, shoegaze-esque vocal, and this time it feels as if the band have finally arrived on a plateau with their sound.
The retro sounding sci-fi horror film electronics give it an extra layer of life, and when coupled with the drum patterns, on tracks such as Let’s Send These Bastards Whence They Came, it really is a wondrous, otherworldly affair indeed.
Made up of alternate instrumental tracks, and full-on tracks, the band weave a sonic atmosphere unlike anything I’ve overly heard before, which is an incredible feat considering just how saturated the whole music industry is these days. MWWB manage to stand head and shoulders above all competitors. Full credit needs to be given to them for following their own path and leaving the notions of formulaic doom and sludge as a destination that really doesn’t suit their intentions at all.
full of spooky sci-fi electronica, interlaced with generous splattering’s of doom, sludge, and shoegaze-y goodness…
The opener Oblok Mageliana and the third track, Interstellar Wrecking, conjure up ideas of futuristic, space age sci-fi horror soundscapes, straight out of a movie scene. As weird as they are intoxicating, they completely parallel the heavier moments, in a way that only MWWB can do.
In contrast, the heavier tracks, like The Harvest, then Altamira show just exactly why MWWB fans love the band so dearly. Thunderous passages of pounding drum, lurching bass rumbles, and wailing guitar pull sharply into focus just how heavy MWWB can be when they want to.
When it’s heavy, it’s crushing, and when it isn’t, it’s absolutely otherworldly. It has an air of occult doom about it too, and as much as it has chugging passages, they are interlaced with electronic spaceman music. As always with MWWB, whenever Jessica sings, her vocals are simply hypnotic against the background. Add into the mix some Pink Floyd vibe prog, and what comes out it absolutely mind-blowing.
Usually, towards the final couple of tracks of an album, you have a firm grasp on what’s going on. There’s an expectation and a way things trail off until the music dies away. The same cannot be said with The Harvest.
Track eight, Strontium, enters in the sludgiest way possible, and with it, to me at least, I’m reminded of one of my favourite bands, and that is Ohhms. The downright filthiness of it, with added guitar wails, shows another weapon in MWWB’s skillset. Jessica’s ethereal vocal has something really shoegaze-y about them, and it’s a sound that Belgium’s Slow Crush also use for maximum impact. On the guitar breaks, the wails are as pained as can be, and they fit sublimely against the doom backdrop. Drudge-y, shoegaze-y, and evolved, by halfway I’m absolutely drained by it all but absolutely loving it at the same time. As the final third enters, the pace shifts, and a majestic end section unfolds.
Moon Rise closes proceedings. A slow, somber start ushers in a clean vocal performance from Jessica, which is both dreamy and soft, like a warm embrace from a loved one. There’s an air of nostalgia to it, like a late 80s, or early 90s alternative indie track, and this really warms my soul. It’s both charming and intoxicating, in equal measure. It is, in my humble opinion, the perfect way to end such a monumental album.
I come away from the experience firm in the belief that this is going to win the band a whole new level of audience. It is more accessible than previous work, but absolutely in the best way possible. This one’s a keeper. To experience it properly is to open your heart, and your soul, and let the MWWB in, you won’t be disappointed.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish