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Mammuthus

Imperator

Review by Craig Leahy

Alright man I’m gonna level with you guys, get a little vulnerable eh.

 

I don’t really like stoner rock. Bro, I used to, I swear. God help me I used to LOVE it, couldn’t get enough. I guess just as time went on and everyone was like ‘oh Orange Goblin only had one good album let’s just write shit that sounds like Magic Carpet’ and it became exhausting. It’s not all shit though, there are bands that do more with the genre than just being a stoner band that I still get down on, anytime Beastwars drops something new, I’m fucking there. I mean it makes financial sense to be there, wait 5 years and that thing is worth 10x as much on Discogs, come on.

 

Beastwars vinyl are the NFTs of 2023.


I’ve just been burned out from the genre for like 5 years, and as a whole, shit kind of sucks now. Like, we all THINK we like Truck Fighters, but really once you chuck on Gravity X and Desert Cruiser finishes, which is literally the first track, what the actual fuck else are you hanging around for? Oh, you want to hear track 7 on a Truck Fighters album? Fuck outta here, there’s a new Gel album out why the hell are you listening to a full Truck Fighters album.

I’ll throw all you stoners a bone though, New Zealand is actually spoilt for wicked stoner bands that are still thriving in today’s climate of everyone knowing weed smokers are normies now, everyone’s mum smokes weed now. You know Linda in accounting? She smokes weed too. It’s like 5 minutes away from being legal, and smoking weed when its legal? That’s cop behaviour. But even facing the adversity of being everyone’s mum’s favourite band we have monster bands like Beastwars, Yarnspinner, Bloodnut, End Boss and the band we’re going to be talking about today, Mammuthus making the genre feel fresh as hell.

 

So, I’m sitting there one day, probably lying to people on the internet as I like doing, maybe messaging Will from Planet Hunter that I like his band or something when Jay Rodeo slides right on into my DM’s. I fucking love Jay, dude is the fucking man. I first moved to Wellington from Nelson in 2007, first time in the big city and all that. Jay along with the Slave Cadaver and Aethea boys were the first people I met that actually gave a shit to welcome another fresh faced Cannibal Corpse tee wearing dickhead into the fold, dudes were cool as fuck, and I’ll always love them for that. Nowadays I get this overwhelming feeling of nostalgia whenever I hear a project with any of those boys in it. Immediately reminds me of sitting in my flat in Aro Valley doing psychological damage to people on the internet by taking them out of my top 8 on Myspace and replacing them with a band like The Haunted or something.

 

Anyway, I assume Jay’s in my DM’s trying to get a sniff or something, but no, he’s got this album for me to listen to, a sneaky new release called ‘Imperator’ from his monumentally dope stoner rock band, Mammuthus. He asks if I’m keen to have a spin and write a review.  Instantly sold, Jay is a monster drummer and there’s no doubt in my mind that this album will slap, unless it sucks, then I’ll shit talk him on the internet and passive aggressively blank him whenever I see him in person for the rest of my life.

 

So I chuck the album on my phone and go about my normal routine of listening 3 or 4 times before I start forming opinions, but man did Mammuthus have an uphill battle. Let me tell you a story of my hardship.


First listen, I’m on a work trip, fuckin’ brutal. I get up at 4.30am to get from Stokes Valley down to the airport, which is like a 40 minute drive. My beautiful fiancé is driving me so I’m not gonna punish her this early in the morning (while she’s pregnant) with an album about hot boxing Toyota Corollas and punching dogs in the head or whatever these rascals are about to start singing about, so I wait. We get to the airport, I kiss her goodbye, walk over to boarding. It’s in that moment something hit me like a tonne of bricks. I look over and this guy I work with who’s on the same flight is standing there, and he’s wearing a fuckin’ Star Wars tee shirt. I’m like bro what the fuck are you doing, you’re 38 years old. He looks me dead in my face and says these words out of his chapped 38 year old lips “May the 4th be with you”. Completely deadpan, not a note of irony, like he’s never fucked a person in his life. Chills went down my spine, I’d completely forgotten, it was International Star Wars day. I look around, there’s punishers fuckin’ everywhere with Star Wars tee shirts, people showing Baby Yoda memes on their phones, Chewbacca noises in the distance, felt like accidentally walking into the Armageddon festival drunk as and not didn’t know how to get out and you’re the only one not wearing Sailor Moon cosplay.

 

Look man, I don’t even hate Star Wars, it’s fine. But that’s it. It’s just the secondary trilogy… Robocop is the definitive trilogy. Remember Robocop 2? That half-formed robot has an existential meltdown and kills himself in front of some suits in a boardroom, shit is cool as hell. Seriously, watch the scene HERE. Star Wars is fine but having every second person tell me Rogue One isn’t as bad as everyone says really puts a dampener on the day. So I’m on the plane around 15 minutes after take-off, probably 5.30am by this point and I’m just fuming that I have to hear this crap for the rest of the day, then the pilot comes over the intercom “Eeeer aaaaah Good aaaah morning everyone, May the 4th be with you” people on the plane just fucking losing it over how cool this guy is, while I’m sitting in my chair trying to will the plane out of the sky so I never have to hear this bullshit ever again. I redirect my anger to my phone. Let’s see what these stoner ruffians have to add to my day.

 

I put on my headphones and am immediately greeted with the intro riff to Holy Goat, and fuck me, the bar was set as high as could be. Crushingly heavy, immense production, guitar tones as thick as molasses… and you know papa is ready to make some barbeque sauce.

 

I’ve always struggled being what felt like the only doom kid in Wellington that doesn’t smoke weed, so when I listen to stoner albums I really need more than just a groove and some stupid weed pun that makes cummy teenagers giggle, god can we stop with weed culture already. Keep smoking weed, it’s cool as, whatever makes you happy rules, but do you really have to wear satin boxers with a weed leaf on them or can you just pay a little extra and get some Calvin Kleins so your Tinder date at least has a chance to have a good time. And while I’m giving you life advice, stop interrupting people when you’re stoned, your anecdote about a god damn YouTube video isn’t as funny as you think it is. And keep your fucking voice down, I’m trying to watch Robocop 2.

 

What immediately stuck out on this record is that while every single one of these riffs is fucking set-endingly immense, they all come soaked in an attitude that says they don’t give a fuck if you think their band is cool and none of it needs weed to be enjoyed. Like these blokes just sat in a room after drinking 18 Lion Browns and said “Man wouldn’t it be cool to open for Beastwars” so they started a band. And far out, I’m fucking glad they did because this album kills. Seriously, there’s no song on here that merits even thinking about a skip. Pretty sure they opened for Beastwars last year too, that rules. 

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I do want to pay attention to one track in particular… track two Long Drive. Every listen I gave this album I found myself playing this one two, maybe three times over the course of the listen. Good god it’s perfect. The kind of track that by the second or third listen had me thinking about my piece of shit dirty pink ’93 Galant that I got in year 12 of high school that eventually the engine block basically shattered and the whole car completely shit the bed. This song had me, at 37 years old, literally googling how much it would cost me to get another ’93 Galant then giving up because I couldn’t find the right shade of pink. This fucking song almost cost me what I have left of my social clout buying that piece of shit car. And while I want to talk about a lot more on this album, just let me say one thing. This song is the greatest slice of stoner to come out of this country since Beastwars dropped Mihi and merits going over to Bandcamp and pre-ordering this album immediately.

 

My second spin of Imperator I’m still on this fucking work trip, but this time I’ve been walking around Auckland in torrential rain for about an hour trying to find my hotel, and I don’t have a change of clothes for the entire trip. Sitting in the hotel room with nothing to do so I chuck the album on again while I’m sitting on my now damp hotel bed with this playing on the UE Boom and I’m like DEEP into this subreddit of people sharing photos of their Real Dolls, like, it’s low-key kind of wholesome. Bunch of homies with anxiety dressing up their dolls and getting advice on outfits from other homies with anxiety. Didn’t see anyone getting weird or nothing, just lovely anxiety boys crushing on baddie dolls. These guys giving fashion advice to dolls while sitting at home wearing  mustard stained Everlast trackies is fucking wild though. Honestly if we put some government funding behind this whole Real Doll thing to give them to the incels as well as just the average anxiety boy we could probably crash the crypto market in like a week. Anyway, Mammuthus, stoked to report that the second spin was even better than the first. Now that I know what to expect everything hits twice as hard and I find myself already anticipating hooks, this is great news for the boys moving forward, their live shows are going to go the fuck off with how hook-laden this thing is.

 

While I could go on all day about these tracks individually, there are a few I want to point out, starting with the instrumental track ‘Monolith’ that goes out of its way to lure you into a false sense of Explosions in the Sky elevator break after its intro, before absolutely kicking you in the head and reminding you where you are, while on first listen it might seem like an interlude between songs, I wanted to call it out because it really drives home how good the production of James Goldsmith is. The way he captured the intensity of the bros live shows is fucking mind blowing. You might as well have these guys in your damp flat just kicking apart your shit kit-set furniture and telling your flatmates about your Real Doll, because this shit ain’t fucking around once that last riff hits. Once Mammuthus are finally done tearing your posters off the wall, they settle down into the sleazy dirge ‘Bloodworm’ which for two minutes or so is going to feel like exactly what you expect out of a band named after a fat extinct hairy beast (Fat Extinct Hairy Beast coincidentally being what you’re saved under on your exes phone) until the bridge section kicks in and the Mammuthus boys come back into your shit house to finish smashing your Warhammer collection. If you haven’t figured out this analogy yet, Mammuthus are studs and you? Well, you’re a fuckin’ nerd.  

 

The album begins to wind down with its fucking magical final track ‘Formless’ which is graced by the excellent EJ from New Zealand’s own End Boss. EJ’s vocals on this song really got to me, they’re ethereal and beautiful and honest to fucking god I could have done another 8 minutes of this song before the crushing wall of sound outro, maybe someone can do a Brian Eno style supercut edit of this song and make it two hours long on YouTube. Fucking excellent track.

 

If you’re like me and you think you’re done with stoner rock, I urge you to give this album a go, you won’t regret it. If you’re someone who has never listened to stoner rock, this is one of the better intros to the genre, but be warned, outside of the NZ bands I mentioned earlier, it’s mostly downhill from this god tier slab of tunes. Don’t let me catch you listening to Truckfighters after Desert Cruiser either, or me and the Mammuthus boys are coming back for your Warhammer collection.

 

To put this in terms that I know the reader will understand (I know the state of some of the mongrels that read this website) Imperator is like cracking open a fresh can of Monster Energy Ultra Zero Mango Fiesta. Instantly crushable at anytime of day, easy to smash the whole thing in one go, super refreshing, fun to look at and consuming around someone else will make you completely unfuckable.

 

Mammuthus – Imperator 4.6 Mango Fiesta blue-balls on a Tinder date out of 5.

Imperator can, and should be pre-ordered HERE

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