#BandcampGold-Late Start by Bully Mammoth
I attended the album release of the new Bully Mammoth album Late Start but it was a strange decision, a gamble for me. Bully are described as noise rock and that is not my area of expertise. The four songs they allowed to sample before their album was released on 11/20/15 were mixed in a pretty incredible way. The vocals were in the back while the guitar and drums pounded forward relentlessly. It sounded like noise but the kind concocted by scientists looking to find new dimensions and definitions of what noise could be.
When I got to the show I witnessed a pretty fantastic set. The punk band Mouth Washington who preceded them are pure musical chaos but Mammoth doesn’t create chaos at all. As a three piece unit of drums, guitar and bass they build songs as elaborately as possible with the pure fury of speed and power knocking down their carefully crafted sound sandcastles as the tide comes in and makes them start over. The same way Max was up front leading Mouth Washington into the semi-riot they created Derek Gierhan on drums was the first line of Mammoth’s sound. He was the only drummer of the night who never took his eyes off his drum set, never shot a look at the microphone next to him. He just kept pounding and pounding like Miles Teller in Whiplash but no one was berating him to move at that pace. This was clearly Derek meeting his own standard and his bandmates (Kevin McPhee and Sam Rich) were not sitting around wondering what to do, they oozed the confidence of his abilities feeling free enough to slam harder and harder. Sometimes the vocals to these songs were terrified screams sung from the side of the mouth (see: Well Put). Sometimes Kevin sang, sometimes Sam sang sometimes they sang together. The singing didn’t really matter. I kept thinking this is what it must have been like to see Afu-Ra and his orchestra do acid jazz in the 1970’s. By the middle of the headliners set Derek’s shirt was sticky with sweat and he was gasping for air but he never lost a beat. He was the best pure player and talent of the night and watching him play was exciting.
Late Start definitely carries the energy of that night with a meticulous cinematic craftsmanship. The brutal tempo of songs like Get Paid and No Mistake are given breathing room by songs that could be normal alternative songs if they wanted to be. Circle The Block definitely rings in that tone and along with Island provide an emotional recharge for the listener so when you find yourself 60 seconds into the distortion and feedback of Lifer the destruction starts again and you’re glad it’s back.
I misspoke calling it destruction; it’s just an easy way to frame music this heavy and solid. These three are builders. They knew Working Vice’s whispery tension needed to follow Get Paid’s take over the world guitar riff. These songs bloom after being cared for and just because they are painted ugly doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful. These are H.R. Giger paintings.
stream or buy ($5 YOU CAN DO THIS) Late Start below: