Review: “Ice Cold Oblivion” by Mammoth Caravan

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jason Tedford (Iron Tongue, Ghost Bones, Terminal Nation) at Wolfman Studios, the debut album from Little Rock Arkansas Sludge infused Doom trio Mammoth Caravan is concept record about about a primitive nomad chasing a baby mammoth from the herd. Built on the foundation of gold and bones that is their two track promo from last summer, Brandon Ringo (bass, vocals), Evan Swift (guitar, vocals) and Robert Warner (drums, synth, artwork) cite influences in the work of bands like Eyehategod, Crowbar and Weedeater in formulating their sound. There may only be six cuts but that surpasses 37 minutes of music…

…”Ice Cold Oblivion” has a wonderful Synth introduction that is reminiscent of those classic Science Fiction movies from Stanley Kubrick, a few moments that paint a picture of being pulled through an intergalactic gateway to a time long since forgotten. Then in come the dirge laden Sludge riffs, the march of the Mammoth herd across a glacier mimicked with the pulsating rhythms. Ethereal clean backing vocals give a haunting touch that contrast the gravelly unclean main vocal to give balance as the percussion thunders through, the sounds being primitive and yet fearfully addictive. There is no need for complication as they drink the well of Southern Sludge Doom Metal dry with gentle meanderings and skull crushing fuzzy intensity. “Nomad” finds the band joined by Mat Johnson of Second Life for a little Death Metal assistance vocally while supplying a warm solo to add to the midtempo crawl and there is no mistaking the earth trembling qualities the band are able to summon with consummate ease. Cleaner melancholic riffs introduce “Petroglyphs” with a shoegazing, hypnotic quality before turning up the fuzz for some Stoner Metal style riff worship with sparse vocals that reach bowl clenching lows, all very tastefully done in rewarding minimalistic fashion.

The Lo-fi fun continues with “Megafauna“, a classy instrumental meandering through mesmerizing monolithic sounds. Underneath the crushing weight of the sonic fuzz there are nuances that creep out of the mix on repeated listen, subtle enough to make you wonder if your brain is playing tricks on you. 1970’s Progressive Rock style vocals add to the story telling in “Periglacial“, embellished by those gutturals in almost the reverse of some of the earlier tracks which gives the record as a whole a tasteful balance. Warner’s tribal percussion as the cut fades out a nod to the ancients before “Frostbite” takes hold with a tar like vice grip. This time out Swift adds a nice bluey lead lick in the riff turn around that adds spark and the extended solo is that rises from the black depths like a phoenix from the ashes is pure fire. Reminiscent of recent offerings by fellow Doom merchants Scuzz this blast from the past finishes with a clever downtempo twist that fulfils all those low and slow needs [7.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Ice Cold Oblivion
2. Nomad (feat. Mat Johnson of Second Life)
3. Petroglyphs
4. Megafauna
5. Periglacial
6. Frostbite

Ice Cold Oblivion” by Mammoth Caravan is out 25th February 2023 and is available over at bandcamp

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