I’ll be honest: I’d like to claim that I’m the type of person who doesn’t ever judge a book by its cover, but sometimes I do. I’m not proud of it, but hey, I’m a friggin human being! In this case, I began by judging the Portland, Oregan based stoner-doom metal band, Mammoth Salmon, by their outrageous name. I thought, “How good could a band with a name like Mammoth Salmon be?” Well, within a few minutes I was calling myself an idiot for ever judging this band, because holy effing shit, the record Magnetic Fields of Radiant Light kicks a ton of ass.
First, I have a question, however. Does this classify as an EP or a full-length LP? There are only five songs, but at about eight minutes a piece, the record runs a little over forty minutes. Anyway, moving on.
If I initially judged the band by its name, I did the complete opposite for the album cover. Featuring a photo shot by NASA, it’s about as appropriate as an album cover can get because it’s a clear indication of the spacey, stoner-ish riffs and grooves that were about to assault my ear drums (in the loveliest way possible, of course).
Kicking off the record is “Apotheosis.” Immediately upon the start of this grandiose track, I knew I was going to like what I heard. Much like the entire album, the track focuses on a consistent groove, carried forth by the thick sounding riffs, pounding drums, and Paul Dudziak’s vocals, that are somewhat akin to a shouted version of Matt Pike‘s vocals, if that makes any sense.
Though the rest of the record follows a similar pattern, it never falls into a dull area. Just when you think you’re locked in for a slow, plodding groove, the entire band will take it up a notch and speed things up with some faster drumming, guitar soloing, and overall aggressiveness.
I also want to talk about the fantastic production value. Recorded and mixed by Justin Phelps in a studio appropriately called The Hallowed Halls, the production is gritty, loud, and thick, but never overly produced. I’m not going to claim to be some kind of audio expert, but in my opinion, the mix works perfectly for this type of record.
Ultimately, Mammoth Salmon aren’t here to break any molds, but what they’ve crafted is a fantastic piece of psychedelic doom and stoner metal, delivering something that punches you in the gut the entire way through. Without a doubt, I recommend adding this record to your rotation.
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Kate Erickson