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Sweden’s Mammoth Volume made a trio of quirky, prog-infused stoner rock records in the late nineties and early ‘aughts, just as the genre was reaching its popular apex, and earning itself critic’s darling status in a field not normally known for that label. The quartet took an extended hiatus afterward, but returns with long-delayed new album The Cursed Who Perform the Larvagod Rites. A title like that indicates either a whimsical sense of humor or a very specifically focused concept album – or both – but with a band that jovially describes its own lyrics as “cryptic gobbledygook,” there’s not much point in figuring it out. Easier instead to simply revel in the band’s clever but organic fusion of early seventies progressive rock with the crunchy riffs and walloping rhythms we all expect from good stoner rock. “Diablo IV” (and its album-closing companion “Diablo V: Lanternsong”), “Medieval Torture Device” and the wonderfully titled “The Lightwedge 60’s Race, Zombie Piccolos, and the German” – probably as apt a description of what this band does as anything using musical terms – blend heavy riffs, dramatic vocals, burbling synthesizers, tricky time signature changes, extended instrumental atmospheres and anything else the band fancies into a uniquely unified whole. It seems about twenty years too late to title a song “Want to Join us? Come Back Later!,” though.
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