Heavy space rock outsiders Mammatus return with their fourth album, and most ambitious to date. Sparkling Waters is a double LP featuring four multi-movement pieces, each designed to recalibrate the shanga array in your mind. In order to achieve the highest levels of sensory clarity, the group enlisted Phil Manley (Trans Am, Life Coach) as their guiding light throughout the studio production. As a result, these tracks shimmer with a far out, casual glow, like an aural reflection of a Risan steam pool. On Sparkling Waters, Mammatus expands upon the astral grooves and heady riffs of their previous compositions and set a course for the furthest horizon. Celestial arpeggiations of electric guitar ricochet infinitely across vast expanses of cosmic debris. Heavy riffs thunder with a rhythmic groove, like the exploding coast of Ornia spoken of in days past. Pastoral passages of mellow, slow-burning psychedelia give way to Native American flute melodies and the chanting of spiritual incantations filtered through canyons of delay. Heavenly dual guitar leads soar like a hawk gliding over a mountainside redwood canopy. Radiant synthesizers harmonize to create a shapeshifting formation of ambient space that envelops the rock and in some places completely takes over. Sparkling Waters is bound to appeal to a wide range of discerning listeners, as it incorporates elements of heavy riff rock, prog and breath metal while it also features the enhancing textures of kosmische sound coloration, soaring synth leads and astral voyages through deep space. This amalgamation of tones is presented in a way that is wholly original, casting Mammatus as the solitary practitioners of a unique sound that was invented with the express purpose of making you feel... shanga. So breathe deeply, strap on those headphones, drop the needle and get far out.
If you’ve seen mammatus clouds in person, you probably noticed the way those massive formations hang heavy like wilting and bulbous gray-blue sacs, bubbling from heaven towards us. Curiously, as monstrous as they look, these gentle giants are not portents of a storm; they cradle the sky, high above where they belong. How can something so heavy float? If you’ve seen Mammatus the band in concert, you probably noticed how visual their sound is. Guitarist Nicholas Emmert sports a one-piece full-body flight-suit, bassist Chris Freels dons a space cape, and drummer Aaron Emmert steers the ship, staring straight ahead with flashing laser eyewear. The homespun wizard-cum-trippy-dad-at-a-campfire look that they’ve adopted softens the blow of the heavy aural trickery afoot. Heady Mental is the perfect title for the third Mammatus album, for it rests heavily in the moldy caverns of heavy metal history, but doesn’t get too comfortable before revealing its true colors. This is music for flight, music for the sky, and music for the things that lie beyond. These men are searching for the source through sound. Repetitions of themes with variants spread over four separate songs that act as a whole. Heady Mental functions as a soundtrack to the Mammatus Brain: Heavy / Airy, Earth / Sky, Man / Creator, Complete and Grok’d. For the obligatory band reference, one could start by imaging what The Fucking Champs’ IV would have sounded like if they had been more into the McLaughlin / Santana LP Love, Devotion, Surrender instead of Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind.
Mammatus’s second album The Coast Explodes straddles the line between psychedelia and hard rock while introducing more progressive aspects. The music is heavily influenced by both the power and complexity of the natural world and the ongoing battles of light and darkness. “Excellent Swordfight” continues the same story told on their debut’s “Dragon of the Deep.” “Pierce the Darkness” explores being a light in a dark world. “The Changing Wind” is a pipe-led psychedelic folk tune that could have been cited by Ghost’s Second Time Around and the shanga vibes of the forest in the Autumn. It unfurls into the title track which encapsulates the massive fury of the ocean.
“The same heavy, spastic psych as Acid Mothers Temple, Psychic Paramount, Comets on Fire and Green Milk from the Planet Orange.” —Dusted “… draws heavily on the cornerstones of mind warping, heavy music—Hawkwind, Sleep, Floyd, Sabbath…. It’s both heavy, soothing, and altogether engrossing. Bottom line, if you want your head caved in and you want to feel really good about it, get this….” —StonerRock.com
Named for the ominous clouds that are usually seen after the worst of a thunderstorm has passed, Mammatus is a lean sludge machine that shoots giant burritos (carne asada) from their instruments. They have no known enemies in the natural world and share symbiotic relationships with hamburgers, sub-goths and dragons. Their album was mastered by a wizard so mighty he has no name. They assure you that his abilities far exceed those of any "terrestrial" engineer, for they send the tapes back in time to be woven with spells of the nameless one that were spoken of before rock could speak. So, what was the last record you bought that was recorded in "Dragonfidelity" or "Drag-Fi?"