Mammoth Storm_Fornjot1I learned a major lesson this year writing for Angry Metal Guy Industries Unlimited, Inc.. No, I still keep the toilet seat lid up after I go. Rather, band names are everything. This calendar year alone, I’ve reviewed bands named after long Biblical phrases, Roman numerals, house breaking your dog, and even a band that was one letter away from sending homophobic metalheads running for their nearest vial of eye-bleach. And now? Mammoth Storm from Sweden is here. Is this just a description of a big-ass snow storm? Is it literally hailing down furry extinct ginormous pachyderms? After spending a week with their debut, Fornjot, all I can answer is “yes.”

I know that doesn’t help you much in terms of just what this sounds like, so here goes. There are people who listen to bands like High on Fire and honestly think, “Y’know, this band isn’t heavy enough.” Those people are smoking some really good stuff, but they do exist. Whereas High on Fire primarily tempers their riffs with speed, Mammoth Storm just wants to pummel the shit out of you. Just a couple of seconds into “Augurs Echo,” and you’re leveled with the heaviest guitar tone I’ve heard all year. Between guitarist Christer Ström and bassist/vocalist Daniel Arvidsson (Draconian), they keep the riffs basic but no less potent, dipping into the frigid waters that Saint Vitus explored decades ago. Drummer Emil Ahlman will sometimes go beyond the simplicity of keeping time to instill a fill or two, but he batters the drums like a barbarian on the warpath, and despite reaching a hair over 11 minutes, the song doesn’t feel like a drag, thanks in no small part to Ström’s multi-layered riffs and Arvidsson’s howling vocals that reminds me of both Matt Pike (again, High on Fire) and a touch of Jaz Coleman (Killing Joke). Impressive.

Fornjot (“moon” in Norwegian) has been described in my promo folder as a doom/drone hybrid, but thankfully it’s way more doom than drone. The only thing drone-y about this album is the sheer length, which becomes both a blessing and a curse. The one-two punch of the title track (featuring some of the nastiest riffs on the whole album, especially the opening part) and “Horns of Jura” make the best use of their run-times, squeezing all life out of the riffs until you are left drained and weary, and that’s a compliment. However, the rest of the album doesn’t fair as well, such as the needlessly upbeat instrumental “Sumerian Cry,” or the 13-minute closer, “Hekla.”

Produced by the band and Johan Ericson (Draconian, DoomVS), Fornjot is just massively heavy. It’s layers of thickness piled on by more layers of thickness. The drums thunder, the bass is viscous and borderline chewable, and the guitars are extremely bottom-heavy, but contain enough highs to pierce through the purple fog. There are very little in terms of dynamics, yes, but this doesn’t hamper the songwriting. What does hamper it is the self-editing, or lack thereof. But already, with Fornjot, the band’s got my attention big time.

So when someone is in the need for something heavier than Oakland’s Finest, point them to Mammoth Storm and their impressive debut. For once, a band name actually lives up to the music itself. Who knew?

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: mammothstorm.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/MammothStorm
Releases Worldwide: November 6, 2015

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  • Genezer

    Thanks for this review. Mammoths are flying through the House of Genezer. One wonders how they can fly when they’re so very heavy.

  • Pimpolho

    “Johan Ericson” Say no more, i’m in. Great review.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    I learned a major lesson this year reading Angry Metal Guy Industries Unlimited, Inc.: There’s always MORE DOOM!

    Also, when I first glanced at this article I read the album title as Jornfot, rather than Fornjot. I was so disappointed…

    • And cheese…don’t forget the cheese…

      • André Snyde Lopes

        I currently live in France. They don’t let me forget…

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Jornfoot should be a band name.

  • Their previous EPs are available for ‘name your own price’ on BC. Definitely check them out.

    • Lacertilian

      Fancy seeing you here!

  • The Ichthyologist

    Fornjot is not “moon” in Norwegian, but an ancient giant in Norse mythology (wikipedia). Moreover, Saturn’s “outermost natural satellite” is apparently named after him. I assume ancient giant kings were rather on the heavy side.

    • Grymm

      But I used Google Translate and everything! :(

      And thank you for the correction. And I like your accyrate description more than mine!

      • The Ichthyologist

        I felt obliged to mention it due to my Norwegianness!

        Now I just read that “natural satellite” is just another word (two words, rather) for moon. There is something fishy about all of this. It is all connected!

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          The Moon is earth’s satellite. By extension other satellites are called “moons”.

        • Danno

          Chortle! ‘Fishy’. Well played.

      • Y’all realize that I’m moderately competent at Swedish, which makes me a pretty good bullshit detector/translator when it comes to Scandinavian languages, right?

        • Grymm

          I didn’t say I fully *trust* Google Translate now…

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Lets’s see: “Housebreaking” into Italian is “Effrazione”, into Swedish is “Inbrott”, into English is “Burglary”.

            “My little dog – she not burglarized”.

      • You have no idea how many times Google Translate has burnt me bad in reviews.

  • Dion Ka

    I like the first song so far. Sounds really cool. Moar doom. <3

  • You wot m8?

    May I just say that the cover art is absolutely gorgeous, and fits the music completely. I’ll be keeping a close eye on anything these guys release in the future. Good start to November.

    • Francesco Bordoni

      I agree completely: I mean look at it! It’s got the right amount of purple, a giant, a freaking caped dude with antlers oozing magic!

      10/10
      11/10
      B/5

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I kept waiting for the band to pick up the pace.

    • Grymm

      It never does. There’s absolutely nothing fast on here. Just a slow, steady tread.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Bummer. Even though I like the slow stuff in this case a little variation would have gone a long way.

    • Name’s Dalton

      I lie it a lot better than HOF, who have never done anything for me.

  • “the bass is viscous and borderline chewable.” Man, that’s even better than Ralphie’s “What I Want for Christmas” theme.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Sad giant is sad.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      “What? No, I don’t know where the remote is. Now let me go back to sleep”.

  • Aydn

    Hey guys, I’m relatively new here. Just wondering if anyone could explain what exactly DR is. I’m assuming it stands for dynamic range or decibel range. I guess I’m most curious about how the number is derived.

    By the way, this site is sick. I’ve already discovered a ton of great shit that I most likely would never have heard without the site, so cheers for that. Also, the comments are fun to read as opposed to aggravating, which is a major positive

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      It is indeed dynamic range, the gap between the quietest and loudest parts on a record. It’s an average of the entire album – not sure the exact methodology AMG uses. It’s useful information but I think some people look at it too literally – not all DR6 albums sound the same and human hearing is a complex and tricky thing. I’ve seen people on here go “DR5? I’m not listening to this!” when in many cases they wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

      Drone, funeral doom, grindcore, brutal death, and stuff that requires less breathing room may get by with a lower number – the problem is when more orchestral or dynamic material is compressed so much that the softer passages are the same volume as the loudest parts. This greatly blunts the impact and I think in a decade or so we will start seeing reissues of overly squashed album with greater dynamic range. Or at least I hope so.

      • +1.

        The term “dynamic range” we use here isn’t exactly the standard usage of the term “dynamic range” in audio (see the Wikipedia article on Dynamic Range for more), but refers to how much the dynamics are squashed, basically. The definition we use is peak level minus root-mean-square level. This is measured per track and an average is taken across the whole album. I use the TT Dynamic Range meter for my reviews, I assume the other writers use the same or equivalent tools.

        A lower DR score implies a more dynamically squashed recording; 6 is fairly standard in metal, but many of us think this is *in general* unnecessarily low, and a greater DR would *usually* benefit a record’s sound.

        Worth remembering also that DR is measured in decibels, and decibels are logarithmic units…

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Rest assured you will see “expanded dynamic range” reissues. The record industry would you anything to sell you the same album twice.

        • I would love to see that actually under the pretext of high-res but alas, we are still living in a see of very crushed recordings.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Just wait… It will happen sooner than later once the record labels realize there is a market for it.

        • Philip Pledger

          I’ve only seen that happen a few times, like with the Carcass full dynamic range editions. Seriously, there need to be more of those. The FDR edition for Heartwork is freaking glorious.

      • One can only hope. We plan to fight the good fight anyway…

    • Hello! May I suggest you read our About page on DR here:

      https://www.metal-fi.com/about-page/dynamic-range/

      • Aydn

        cheers! Thanks for all the great info everyone!

  • RyanM1985

    Listening to the album now and I like what I hear, that bass and the atmosphere is wonderful. I was wondering what band/album you were talking about when you wrote… “and even a band that was one letter away from sending homophobic metalheads running for their nearest vial of eye-bleach” Can anyone enlighten me?

    • Philip Pledger

      That would be Tomb of Finland. Forgetting to type the b will leave you with Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen), a famous creator of homoerotic fetish art.

  • Trig

    I heard one of there songs on a compilation cd and i was hooked! purchased the Ep Rite Of Ascension and Fornjot on vinyl! Im just waiting for their arrival :)