Mamaleek – Come & See [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Mamaleek’s experimental fluidity has been bubbling beneath the surface since 2008. Not a lot is known about the two brothers who have channeled many genres through the Mamaleek moniker. Come & See is their seventh full-length and another chapter in their difficult-to-place story. If you asked me about this record a few months ago I would have huffed, puffed and dismissed it as a work of directionless cross-genre experimentation. After revisiting the record last month, however, I was struck by how coherent and engrossing it was as a whole. At first, I came into it expecting a black metal record with subtle elements of experimentation – I was disappointed by the lack of writhing, malevolent and dissonant energy. Coming back to the record and viewing it as an experimental rock record with elements of jazz, hardcore, noise and touches of extreme metal opened up a whole new world.

Come & See is jarringly loose at times, swallowing up and spitting out threads of multiple genres chaotically. These seemingly disparate fragments drift away from one another but frequently cross paths and merge into an invigorating whole. “Eating Unblessed Meat,” for example, is cold and opaque at its beginning before a tumult of abrasive noise thrusts and churns at the song’s zenith, aided by peculiarly animalistic vocal bellows and shouts. However, this uncomfortable clash of sound comes together in a melodious groove of sound soon after. Frequently, smooth blues movements surf through the haze, anchored by a sumptuous bass tone that rides the waves, tying together the drifting sounds of Come & See.

Most striking is Mameleek’s ability to tie this harsh weirdness with a sense of relaxing melodicism. Stringed and brass instrumentation permeates the record with both awkward abandon and silky normality, as do disembodied electronic samples and inputs. Vocals rarely deviate from a sludge-like gruff gait, consistently lethal against a backdrop everchanging. “Cabrini-Green” slips and slides with a jazz-fusion inspired rush of sound: keyboard blips ride tenderly over Sonic Youth-esque guitar shards, stop-start bass throbs cast unease, and shimmering snare strikes dance seductively in the gaps between mid-range vocal laments. A smooth if peculiar sail. “White of the Eyes (Cowards),” in opposition, is empty and vitriolic as post-metal undertones build and build nastily until, like the sun breaking through sulphuric clouds, a smooth blues-jazz break casts wonderful sunshine over the smog.

Come & See is a tight record, too. At 44 minutes it bundles its essence into a consumable package. Overwhelming technicality and overindulgent experimentation rarely linger. The record strikes and leaves with a swagger. I’m always on the look out for a record that embodies the bizzaro essence of Dodheimsgard’s A Umbra Omega. It’s a record that manages to embrace and repackage a crazy amount of styles with fluidity. Mamaleek’s Come & See, though less extreme and metal in many ways, carries that same bizarre complexion. Mamaleek is seven albums in on their journey. They’ve stuck their mysterious fingers in many conflicting pies; here, they seem settled, relaxed even – the devil is most potent when pouncing with nonchalant evil.

Tracks to Check Out: “Eating Unblessed Meat,” “Cabrini-Green,” and “White of the Eyes (Cowards)”

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