Tuesday 20 October 2015

Mammoth Storm - Fornjot (Album Review)

Release date: November 06th 2015. Label: Napalm Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Fornjot – Tracklisting

1. Augurs Echo
2. Vultures Prey
3. Sumerian Cry
4. Fornjot
5. Horns of Jura
6. Hekla

Band Members:

Daniel Arvidsson - Bass, Vocals
Christer Ström - Guitars
Emil Ahlman - Drums, Organ


Mammoth Storm released a well-received EP – Rite of Ascension - back in 2014 with the band’s style of progressive Doom/Stoner Metal. These guys are from Sweden and we know Sweden are one of the current kings of all things Doom/Stoner Metal. Now, Mammoth Storm return their debut full length record – Fornjot.

Fornjot is a conceptual album of sorts based on an Ancient Giant from Norse mythology who was king of Finland, Kvenland and Gotland. (I know this sounds like a crazy advert for a Folk/Power Metal album but it’s not. So you’re safe on that one). Mammoth Storm have stuck very closely to their Swedish roots on this album. Heavy Doom/Stoner Metal riffs blended with tales of mythology and fantasy. It’s a setup that the guys brilliantly get away with as they’ve created a non-stop exercise of loud progressive doom metal riffage.

Opening track – Augars Echo – is an epic 11 minute track with the band creating a doomy atmosphere with the emphasis on noise and volume. Daniel’s vocals are very narrative at times with an exciting story unfolding right in front of you. The bass heavy guitars add extra grit as the band venture into progressive rock/metal territory. There’s an element of FUZZ which I didn’t expect as the sound becomes more distorted before a twisted vibe of Psych Rock appears.

Second track – Vultures Prey – is another epic doom-laden track with the music once again remaining within the Doom/Fuzz/Stoner Metal realm. The lyrics will probably mean more to fans of Norse Mythology but that doesn’t stop this being another exciting song on the album. The drums and guitars are loud through-out with a few moments of psychedelic freak-outs merged with slow progressive doomy riffs. Daniel is clearly passionate about what he’s singing about as his vocal range is quite impressive on this song.

Third track – Sumerian Cry – is one of the albums shortest tracks running under 3 minutes. It’s an instrumental song with hints of Eastern vibes. A nice change from the band. Shame it’s such a short song as the duelling guitars set against a distorted noisy backdrop has quite a calming and soothing atmosphere.

Fourth track – Fornjot – finally appears and it’s good to see what this mystical Norse Giant has in store for us. As expected, Mammoth Storm create some of the albums most exciting moments as the heavy progressive doom/stoner metal riffs weave a dark hypnotic almost trance-like vibe. It’s a very slow paced affair but that’s a good thing as it gives Mammoth Storm the chance to experiment with their sound. Layers of noise and psych rock collide with Daniel’s commanding vocals as the song reaches a thrilling climax.

The final two songs – Horns Of Jura and Hekla – offer 24 minutes of action packed progressive doom metal though Horns Of Jura does see the band try their hand at creating Ambient based noises which makes for an intriguing listen. Horns Of Jura does take some time to finally get going as the band take their time unleashing the heavier riffs but it’s all worth it when they finally appear. The final song – Hekla – is perhaps the best song on the album as Mammoth Storm do just that – unleashing a Mammoth Storm of heavy riffs over an epic progressive groove. It starts very slowly but beware; the mood becomes heavier as Mammoth Storm end the album to its natural conclusion.

One of the strengths of Fornjot is the lyrics as Mammoth Storm have written fantastic lyrics throughout and ones that give actual power to the music. Though I know most people will be here for the heavy riffs. You won’t be disappointed on that score either. Fornjot is a stunning debut album on all levels. Check this out as you won’t be disappointed.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Mona at Napalm Records for the promo. Fornjot will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from 6th November 2015 via Napalm Records.