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Mammut - Mammut CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.44 | 24 ratings

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4 stars Mammut is one of the more interesting of the obscure bands to come out of Germany during the late 60's and early 70's. Mammut was a one-off project that only existed for two weeks, the time it took to record their sole album. If I were to label this band, I would either call it eclectic prog (as it is here on PA), or Krautrock. There is certainly a lot going on here, and most of it works quite well. Each track is connected by sound effects of some sort, which helps give the album a nice flow, even though the songs have a good deal of variety. Overall, the vocals are decent, and are shared by 3 different members of the group.

The opening track, "Bird Mammut," is dominated by African style drumming, complete with bongos, with brief rock interludes. A flute eventually comes in, provided by bassist Tilo Herrman, and floats on top of the frantic drumming, along with some Ian Anderson style vocalization while playing the instrument. Next up is some nice classical piano on the aptly titled, "Classical Mammut." "Mammut Ecstasy" follows with searing guitar and fine keyboard work combined with manic, jazzy drumming. I'm not sure which Schnur brother, Klaus or Peter, handles lead guitar for the album, but whoever it is does a masterful job giving the music an edge when it is needed. While not a master of technical playing by any means, he applies a unique playing style to the instrument that is a refreshing break from much of the rock music of the time. Next up is the bluesy "Footmachine Mammut," which is a nice little jam that includes a cool, psych guitar solo over the sound of people partying in the background. The also aptly titled "Short Mammut" follows, as it is only clocks in at 1:45. While brief, this is a great psychedelic, jazzy rock song with some cool vocal parts. Track 6 is one of the more bazaar songs, which features a basic, deadpan vocal backed up by off-kilter vocals by two other band members. The music on the song is solid, especially the breakdown in the midsection. It's probably the most Krautrock-leaning tune on the original album. The next song, "Nahgarn Mammut," is probably the best track on the LP. Once again the scorching guitar provides ample rock energy to reign in some of the poppy feel of the track for a nice balance. There is some excellent piano work going on from Rainer Hofmann as well, over the solid jazzy drumming of Gunther Saier and the groovy bass of Tilo Herrmann. The final track, "Mammut Opera," is also a jazzy affair with good vocals and the killer guitar to spice things up again. It is also the longest track (13:40) and basically becomes a sweet jam session about half way through, where the flute makes a reappearance.

The Long Hair CD reissue, which is also the first official one, includes one bonus track, "Da Du Da," but it is not by Mammut. Rather, it is by The Rope Sect, guitarist/vocalist Klaus Schnur's other band. It was recorded the previous year (1969) for a compilation album, and it's where Klaus met some of the other future members of Mammut. The song is similar sounding to Mammut, with Schnur's vocals being instantly recognizable, but not nearly as good. "Da Du Da" is also the most Krauty tune on the entire disc. When I first heard the opening blues riff, I thought I was in for another blues-rock ripoff. As the song continued, I realized that this was not the case. The blues riff continued on and on with no changes, violin joined in with the harmonica, and the vocals devolved into maddening yells, along with weird sound effects. What you have is a blues-based Krautrock song, if that makes any sense. If it doesn't, it will once you have a listen!

To conclude my longer than intended review, Mammut's lone, self titled album is a shining example of an obscure album that is actually worth listening to. It's been 45 years since its release, and I have never heard anything quite like it, and that in itself should be reason enough to give it a listen.

Igor91 | 4/5 |


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