Mammoth Grinder, Mammoth Grinder / Legion, Ignitor, Mala Suerte, and the Flood
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Oct. 30, 2009
Mammoth Grinder has two speeds: "seek" and "destroy." Eschewing the more experimental passages of its 2008 vinyl debut, Rage and Ruin, the local trio takes dead aim at the latter on sophomore 12-inch Extinction of Humanity (Cyclopean Records), a Texas chain saw massacre at 45 rpm. "Societal Collapse" charges behind Brian Boeckman's grindcore thrashing and the napalm grunts of guitarist Chris Ulsh: "Humanity shows its weakness in the acceptance of death." The flip-side shifts gears, at times recalling the early prog-metal fury of Mastodon, but the band needs more time and space to develop. A 7-inch split with Birmingham, Ala.'s Legion (Nuclear Solution) tacks on a two-part sequence for good measure, "Anxiety Onset" and "Unnatural Death." Ignitor's third LP, The Spider Queen (Cruz del Sur Music), unravels a nine-scene power-metal opera, complete with a prologue and epilogue. Local metal mainstay Jason McMaster voices the entire cast in a manner that rekindles King Diamond's Mercyful Fate, but the story hinges on the Maiden guitar twists and tightly wound rhythm section. It's an impressive feat. Too bad Mala Suerte and the Flood weren't asked to take part in the Melvins' Chicken Switch remix project as both locals conjure the doom-metal forefathers. Mala Suerte keeps things slow and low on The Shadow Tradition (Illwill Recordings), weighed down by Gary Rosas' drawl. It's a monolithic spell peaking on the 20-minute closing title track, which hopefully hints at what's to come. The Flood adds a bit of humor to the equation with its Toshi Kasai-produced Back to Sleep. Improving by leaps and bounds from the trio's 2007 debut, Power to the Sheeple, these demented state of the union addresses take on Guns n' Roses ("Old Goat Bones") and at least one Red River institution ("Fuckemo's 2008") with enough guitar lacerations to go around ("Neva Eva"). Proceed with caution.