Review by Kris Peters
No, it’s not an April Fools Prank.
Melbourne extreme doom metal outfit Mammon’s Throne have indeed dropped their second album, and, being self-titled, shows the band are confident they have delivered the musical goods.
Album opener and single Return Us To The Stars kicks in on the back of a nice bit of reverb before sludge heavy as fuck guitar work lays the landscape of a bleak and tortured world.
Vocalist Matthew Miller soon takes charge of the beast laying down an ominous tone that is as sombre as it is threatening.
Lead guitarist Amesh Perera orchestrates the early stages before drummer Nick Boschan spices things up considerably, adding an urgency to proceedings that is compounded by the sweet tones of rhythm guitarist Johnny Chammas.
The tracks maintains a steady, almost measured pace that ebbs and flows gently off the back of well-crafted musical interludes from the rhythm section, with bass player Sam Talbot-Canon injecting his persona early in the piece.
From the outset it is clear that Mammon’s Throne are a tight unit who play for each other, a trait too often overlooked in place of individual brilliance – which does have its place but only after the hard yards have been fought and won.
Things subdue around the halfway point as the intensity drops back several gears into an almost soothing guitar section that reaffirms the brooding atmosphere Mammon’s Throne are successfully trying to create before fading into the desolate sonic plain that this Melbourne five-piece have obviously laid claim to as their own.
Beyond wastes little time getting to the point as Miller barks his ascend in no uncertain terms amid a wash of doom-infused riffs that swirl around him.
I have to admit doom metal is not on my usual menu of choice but there is something in this offering from Mammon’s Throne that elevates it beyond the usual monotony I find myself envisaging with this genre.
There’s enough grunt and aggression here to paint a heavier landscape without wallowing in self-pity. Whether or not that is considered a good thing in doom metal fucks me, but it’s enough to keep this casual reviewer interested.
And then, almost as swiftly as it arrived, Beyond leaves this realm and we are introduced to the regal-sounding A King’s Last Lament.
As the final word of the title suggests this is a brooding number with a – dare I say it – ambient underbelly that showcases a cleaner, crisper side of Miller’s vocals.
It almost sounds like a soft string section in the background which adds an even more regal edge to the track as it gently floats unhampered through the speakers quite effectively.
It’s one of those songs you sense will explode at any given moment, but you wouldn’t be too disappointed if it didn’t…
And then the beautiful sounds of either hard or flamenco-style acoustic guitar pierce the tranquility and hint at a sense of menace that grows unnervingly stronger in measured steps.
It’s not the explosion expected, but rather a controlled descent into oblivion that bows to no master. It creates an underlying tension that defies its own sonic beauty before fading into a gust of wind that seemingly acts as a metaphor for the winds of change.
Totally unexpected but nonetheless welcome insertion into the album.
Reap What You Sew arrives on the back of some heavy as fuck guitar riffs that reunite us with the doomtastic sense of darkness momentarily left behind.
These guys really know how to build a song and drag you into their subliminal layers without resistance and for that must be applauded.
Both guitars come to the fore on this track, highlighting the musical chemistry between Perera and Chammas, but again it’s more the overall contributions from each of the band members that is their source of empowerment.
Nothing seems forced or placed there to satiate someone’s ego. There are no elongated guitar solos that cry out for acceptance or off-kilter drumming techniques that scream for attention. What we get instead is a sustained output of musical precision that only serves to heighten the well-placed solo jaunts all the more.
Impure breathes life off the back of another slab of guitar reverb that ushers in the darkness once more to complete the devilish journey.
More of a hard rock number than anything that came before, Impure is an amalgamation of all of Mammon’s Thrones strengths and none of their weaknesses.
The back end of the song sees an unexpected quickening of direction led by an awesome guitar solo from Perera that hints at even greater diversity on albums to come.
Mixing doom, sludge, stoner rock and hard rock sensibilities Impure is a dense offering of goodness that is the closing chapter to my first full introduction to an album’s worth of doom.
Has it converted me? Time will tell, but what this self-titled album from Mammon’s Throne has done has given me a greater appreciation for a genre that I had almost abandoned.
So for that alone, I salute them.