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Feels like a compilation album but it isn't - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, March 9th, 2008

Reissued in 2007 with new artwork, this 1996 album sounds very fresh (the production may have been tweaked a bit for re-release) and the songs are quite good and consistent. This makes me wonder why the band Acrimony didn't get the attention they should have got back then; I can only guess maybe people in the UK weren't ready for a Welsh band that didn't sound like another Manic Street Preachers and that could actually play decent retro-'70's psychedelic stoner metal with a bit of a prog rock influence. More so in fact than the over-rated and excessive Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting UFO Paraiso from Japan who were apparently slaying people in Europe and the US with their brand of psychedelic heavy guitar rock during the same time Acrimony were active (late 1990's / early 2000's). But as the cliche goes, it's better late than never and second time now is a good time as any to bring Acrimony to a more appreciative audience than what they had earlier.

This is a long album (65 minutes) so it could be expected that filler material will appear but after hearing this disc several times, I finger the brief instrumental acoustic episode "Turn the page" as the main junk-out material. Every other song on the album has at least one thing - a good catchy riff, a particular turn of melody, a trance ritual section, some change in the guitar sound that establishes a different mood and feel - that distinguishes it from the others. The band has a good raw and deep sound, sort of lite-Cathedral / Black Sabbath but more melodic and light in feel (and yes I do see two members of Acrimony were called Lee and Dorian so the band must have had more than its fair share of Cathedral jokes in its time!), which the musicians use to good mind-bending serpentine effect on tracks like "Vy" and "Find The Path". Vocalist Dorian Walters has a good raspy voice with a hard edge which helps to give the band's sound a more up-to-date hardcore kind of aspect and his singing occasionally reminds me of the young James Hetfield back in the early 1980's when Metallica were lean and hungry. Walters does have a limited vocal range, his voice sounding much the same all the way through, and when he goes "yeahh ..." on songs like "The Bud Song" and "Motherslug (The Mother Of All Slugs)", he doesn't draw out those "yeahs" into long soaring sounds that could draw out the energy and the fire in the music more.

The best songs on the album include the spacey trance-inducing whirling dervish "Motherslug ...", probably the best song here; the majestic doom opening track "Hymns To The Stone"; "Vy" with the sinister melodies and almost molten riffs; and "Heavy Feather" and "Firedance", both of which boast memorable if rather poppy riffs and melodies. A favoured trick of the band is to start a song slow or heavy or just a bit melodic and then about halfway through the track launch into a danceable groove or hypnotic repetitive trance loop, this is very obvious on the first track "Hymns To The Stone". Whichever the band does, it sure fucks with the body's rhythm (you just wanna get up and dance or get down and boogie or just get into whatever direction you fancy) or the mind, especially with those long loopy trance bits. So if a song isn't initially to your liking because it's a bit slow or sounds too pop-oriented, don't despair, give it a fair hearing and it will do something different that'll lift your spirit.

Being a long recording with good if not very original songs spaced throughout and covering a wide range of subjects (space travel, Celtic mythology, ingesting hallucinogenic substances, the beginning of creation) in bizarre combinations, "Tumul Shroomaroom" feels like a best of / compilation album so it's a pleasant surprise for me to find it actually is just a studio album. Some of the later songs are rather long and there can be a lot of repetition in a couple of them so the later stretch of the album can be a bit of an endurance test but this is not a concept album so the songs can be enjoyed on their own.