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Slomatics / MWWB > Totems > Reviews
Slomatics / MWWB - Totems

Very obvious bandnames 3.1 & 4: Spacey vibes - 77%

gasmask_colostomy, December 5th, 2019

A good pairing of bands to put together, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and Slomatics have been doing interesting things with slow fuzzy music in the UK for a little while now. This split sees a similar quantity of music from each group, as well as comparable quality, though not the continuity or overarching sense of spectacle as one may find in their albums.

MWWB’s 2 songs capture the band at a transitional stage, edging away more and more from the simplistic massiveness of the riffing on their debut and towards a sound that allows Jessica Ball’s ethereal vocals more space and range. Opener ‘The Master and His Emissary’ plays about with the spacey synth sounds that this year’s full-length Yn Ol I Annwn slightly overindulged in, while the classic doom guitar solo that ends the longest song on Totems comes as a surprise, simply because of how traditional it sounds. ‘Eagduru’ seems rather par for the course from an otherwise interesting group, only the closing voiceover altering the abstracted riffing to a mood of dread and apocalypse.

Unlike the other Slomatics material I’ve listened to, the 3 songs here seem a bit closer to the style of MWWB, which is obviously useful in the context of the split. The main difference in approach seems to be the vocals, since the gradual crushing sludge doom of ‘Ancient Architects’ (Ancient Aliens, anyone?) shows Marty using a prolonged clean howl that sounds a bit like early Yob without the distortion. Due to the tones of the guitars and the slightly busier, clattery drumming, Slomatics make more contact with the listener, turning a previously floating experience into one clearly grounded on Earth. That’s not to say that the keyboards on instrumental track ‘Silver Ships into the Future’ aren’t spacey too, giving off the same kind of Tangerine Dream electronic vibe as the intro to MWWB’s side of the split.

Neither of these bands exactly pack hidden qualities, though both are capable of slightly more nuanced feelings than their unsubtle names suggest. On the balance of Totems, Slomatics fare marginally better despite a drier riffing style, largely because MWWB hadn’t figured out the best way to implement their new ideas into the original riff-heavy style. The mysterious crescendo of ‘Masters Descent’ that closes the split may actually be the best part here, though you would do well to check out either of these UK outfits for some intriguing spacey stoner and doom.