Have you ever considered the size of a Mammoth? I mean – to many of us even an elephant seems quite far away regarding size only due to the fact that we don’t have any running around in our backyard. Nevertheless, I guess that most of you have seen one or another when visiting your local zoo. Remember your last visit ? Good – still quite tall, right ? Now think of something hairier and even add half the size of the elephant on top and you can partly imagine the size of a mammoth – this is one giant beast. Having messed around with the size of this ancient animal, it is now necessary to also imagine the weight this colossus might have when wandering around in the prairie. So – what dou you think it is like to end up under one of these hoofs ? Most probably heavy as shit – right. Greek Doom Metal artists Acid Mammoth claim to be able to sonically convey what it’s like to be in this situation with their sophomore release Under Acid Hoof – following the release of their same-titled debut album in 2017.
Right at the beginning, when the opener “Them!” kicks off, Acid Mammoth are interested in showing their gear and what you are going to face during the next half an hour when fuzzy noise cracking transcends into what can be identified as a guitar and eventually emerges in the opener riff of the album – and this opener truly feels heavy as shit. When I first listened to this album, I did so by just playing it on small boxes at home and only after the first minute of this opener track it became evident that every single noise on this album convincingly cries for more volume – it is one of the records where you can hear that you need to turn up the volume – it urges you to do so. The production is absolutely decent – shoutout to Descent Studios – and makes use of the massive pressure Acid Mammoth are capable to generate on this release. When playing in this kind of slower section and lower frequences, it is often difficult to situate the instruments correctly in the mix and to not have them cut off the remaining frequences – but this record turns it the other way round so as to have the drums perfectly synergize with the heaviness of the slowly pacing riffs. Every hit on the guitar lets you feel another earth-shaking step of the heavy hoof that is wandering about.
Apart from building up a natural setting between guitar, drums and also the heavily prominent bass on this record, the progressions on the guitars are what is absolutely striking – again fitting into an absolutely natural feeling. We are able to hear a solo (or similar) on every track on this album – although at some points it does not feel like a solo at all – which is an absolutely brilliant aspect. Most of the times, the solos emerge from one of the steadily wading riffs and during the first few seconds it is not even possible to distinguish whether we are still in an alteration of the main riff or if the guitars are stepping into the forefront. Any time solo activities are going on, they naturally emerge from the riff and step back into the full picture again by not apparently urging to be recognized.
Chris Jr.’s vocals on the entire album feel somewhere in between Ozzy Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard – which is one aspect that made me favor this record even more (only go with the first four Sabbath albums – no further). During the second track “Tree of Woe,” the subject also changes into witchery lyrics so as to think of Electric Wizard even more (if you haven’t done so before due to the instrumentation anyway). The vocal range Chris Jr. showcases on the record also adds to the factor that it is mostly difficult to feel bored due to the variety during the first two tracks. However, the third and fourth tracks (“Tusks of Doom” and “Jack the Riffer”) feel as if they come from the same core as track #2. This is by no means a merely negative aspect – it lets you wait for a distinguishing factor at some points, though. This is however changed with the final and album-titled track “Under Acid Hoof,” which is by far the best track on the entire album.
Only the intro riff on this track is absolutely awesome already and differs from the rest of the songs. Before setting off into the continuation of the pacing mammoth, a fuzzy and playful intro riff introduces the final track – and emerges in one of the best riffs. On this track, Acid Mammoth show what they are capable of best – when the heavy and staggering sound we heard before makes use of catchy embellishing riffs and add a variety that definitely puts this record in the forefront when comparing to other great Doom records. At this point, the natural progressions of the guitar are made use of most obviously, because it is not even possible to extract a clear song structure – the guitar feels as if improvisatorily jumping back and forth between riff – short solo allusion – riff – embellishment and whatever else is taking place. Everything still retains the heavy sound we already liked during the beginning of the album – but the songwriting and playfulness reaches its peak here. Eventually, the song finishes by returning to the opening riff which closes the book just as it was opened.
This entire album repeatedly stomps on you with a massive weigth and doesn’t stop until the last second – we are seemingly getting close to the situation under the heaviest hoof we have ever experienced. Turn up the volume on this one – Under Acid Hoof is a massive record that needs to be listened to as loud as possible.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
8 / 10
As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist 2020.