Mammoth Grinder juggle ranks, return with destructive blast of punk-death on ‘Cosmic Crypt’

Photo by Jillian Keats

I’m not one of those people who supports the notion that one hasn’t lived until being punched in the face. That’s just stupid. You should actively avoid getting punched in the face, or anywhere on your body for that matter. I got punched in the face at a festival once, and I couldn’t do anything about it because, you know, I didn’t want to get arrested in another state. Or any state. But it sucked. Don’t let it happen.

Anyway, this new Mammoth Grinder feels like getting punched in the face 11 times. Your teeth will hurt after this even if you didn’t get slugged there. It’s from all the clenching from anticipating blows designed to put you down, all from this reconfigured band that seems not to have your best interest in mind. These punches are OK, though, because they are metaphorical but none the less impactful. We sustain them because it’s nice to have the band back after a five-year wait and because “Cosmic Crypt” is such a barnburner of a record. You have 11 tracks that fly by in a little more than 28 minutes, and each track packs a powder keg of a blast that will leave bruising. While the music won’t feel all that different from what greeted us on their last album “Underworlds” or even something such as “Extinction of Humanity,” the group that made it changed a lot. The only holdover is guitarist/vocalist Chris Ulsh (also of Power Trip), and joining him now are bassist Mark Bronzino (Iron Reagan, ANS) and drummer Ryan Parrish (also of Iron Reagan, and formerly of Darkest Hour, Disinterment, etc.), forming a crushing trio that wastes no time getting a lot of shit done.

“Grimmerstein” gets things going in a hurry as a noise haze builds and is shattered by grinding, punching death metal. The guitars have an awesome groove, as they’re doomy, fiery, and leave the earth scorched. “Servant of the Most High” has mauling fury and gloomy punishment, with cavernous growls and molten riffs liquefying rock. The soloing burns brightly while the track comes to a thrashy, savage end. “Blazing Burst” is aptly titled, with riffs coming at you rapid fire and a speedy burst pacing this monstrous assault. Thickness lays in toward the end, giving the track a sunburst sludginess like Black Tusk. “Divine Loss” strikes and leaves in a hurry, a 1:44 bruiser that smears your blood on your face and lets the blows rain down. “Molotov” ignites immediately, with calculated drums, fire-breathing guitar work, and a stomping pace leaving no guts unstomped. “Superior Firepower” has a different feel to it, with a humid pace setting in before shit is blown apart. Later, the track gets thrashy and menacing, with the growls chewing at your wounds.

“Human Is Obsolete” is muddy and thick, as the band trudges through the muck before finding their speed again. From there, burly riffs cycle into the song, and the track is dragged to a grime-infested, doomy death. “Locust’s Nest” swarms from the start, pounding hard while riffs churn away. This feels like it’s aiming to coat the ground in hot ash, as the back-end dissolves into noise. “Mysticism” is heavy and sticky, with thunderous terror doing its best to leave a crater behind, and the vocals feeling like they’re caving in your head. The intensity bashes skulls over its final minute, and then it’s on to “Rotting Robes” and its sinister, filthy riffs. The place is fluid and dangerous, with the leads bursting into flames, and the end feeling like a heavy steel gate dropping over your chest. The closing title track has guitars rumbling, growls echoing in space, and the leads blaring into madness. The vocals sound like they’re scraping the inside of Ulsh’s throat with a razor before the cut gets in a last blast before disappearing into an echo chamber.

While you won’t undergo any real bodily harm from the band, you’re bound to be bruised mentally once Mammoth Grinder are finished with you on “Cosmic Crypt.” Don’t let that spacey, adventurous title fool you. You won’t feel like you’re floating in the stars or lost in your imagination. You’ll feel like you’ve been take down, pulverized, and left to bleed out. And you’re bound to love every minute of it.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/MammothGrinder

To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/

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