Mammoth Grinder – Underworlds (20 Buck Spin)

Sometimes it’s hard not to be disappointed when it’s not what it says on the box.
Release Date: 
23 Jul 2013 (All day)

Mammoth Grinder’s heavily anticipated second album, Underworlds, (coming almost 4 years since their debut, Extinction of Humanity) comes labelled as ‘grind/death/thrash’, and the promo name-checks Entombed, Pig Destroyer, Municipal Waste, Discharge, Napalm Death and Iron Lung. Coming emblazoned with this sort of pedigree (not to mention that the band shares key members with the grindcore training-ground Hatred Surge), I was pumped for some utterly unhinged, barely-controlled speed-obsessed grind. Although Underworlds is far from a bad album, the reality was less immediately exciting and, in the end, I couldn’t help but feel slightly less than completely sated.

Mammoth Grinder play an uncomplicated, sludgy, punk-infused brew, with a focus on that Swedish death metal guitar tone (a la Entombed and Dismember) and the odd nod to the d-beat swagger of Discharge. There seems to be more than a few youngsters doing variations on this kind of thing at the moment; bands like Nails, Black Breath and Coffins come to mind as comparisons, rather than Napalm Death or Municipal Waste.

There’s not an ounce of fat on any of the songs, which have been pared back to essentials, and they all bludgeon along mostly at a decent mid-paced stomp. The production is a soupy, old-school sounding affair that suits the music well. If you have a couple too many beers and get a bit bleary you could almost be forgiven for thinking that you’re listening to some lost Earache album from the early 90s. It’s the sort of music that would no doubt go down best live; raw, straight-forward, a no-nonsense assault on the senses.

All of that said, I still couldn’t help but feel somewhat uninspired. There are some great moments on the album (Cogs in the Machine being a standout track), but it’s missing that jump-up-and-down-and-bang-your-head urgency that made Entombed and Dismember so effective, the fist-shaking fury of Nails, or the infectious swaggering groove of Black Breath. 

Underworlds will be rapturously received by many (particularly those attending their Australian shows with Innumerable Forms), but in the end it didn’t so much grab me by the throat as it did trample along in the background.