Mammoth Grinder has risen
Everything’s bigger in Texas. The hats, the food, the personalities. But in this instance, Texas is also a purveyor of big riffs. If we’re zeroing in on one person in particular, it’d be Chris Ulsh, the Austin-based musician that never shies away from massive and crushing riffage. Over the years Ulsh has shredded on through his work with Dallas band Power Trip, but especially through his own band Mammoth Grinder. They were on quite the bit of a hiatus (about five years since they released Underworlds, but who’s counting?) while Ulsh did extensive touring with Power Trip, but now they’re back with Cosmic Crypt, an album rife with the truculent nature Mammoth Grinder started with some 13 years ago.
With the Mammoth Grinder comeback, Ulsh transitioned his live/touring into permanent ones, with Iron Reagan’s guitarist and drummer Mark Bronzino and Ryan Parrish (also formerly of Darkest Hour) respectively. These additions are welcomed and integral to the real meat of Cosmic Crypt, Ulsh himself segueing into a sole bass position and letting Bronzino handle guitar on this record.
Since they’re all well versed in thrash, crusty punk and metal, Cosmic Crypt flows pretty seamlessly. “Grimmenstein” has got a build up that can really only be expressed as the calm before the storm; blast beats and hards riffs make up the chaos, along with a quite colorful solo. This energy continues on into the incredibly fast paced “Servant of the Most High,” where Ulsh’s vocals snarl in ways they don’t on any of the other tracks.
One of the album’s high points is “Human Is Obsolete.” It’s the most metal Cosmic Crypt gets, seconded by “Rotting Robes, by starting out with a sludgy tenor before releasing into a death metal force. Ending with the albums pleasantly crafted title track, the record is just under 30 minutes of pure delight.
Mammoth Grinder’s resurgence may not be the opus of their discography, but it couldn’t have been a better release to return with. Tracks hit hard without being too forceful, and pack an aggression that recalls their days past. Hopefully, it won’t take another five years for them to give us more.