Steel Mammoth - Atomic Oblivion
Ektro Records
Psychedelic Punky Heavy Metal
11 songs (33'59")
Release year: 2017
Ektro Records
Reviewed by Alex

Steel Mammoth is not only another release on the independent Finnish Ektro Records label, but it is the band of Jussi Lehtisalo, the owner of Ektro Records himself, an important name in Finnish underground scene, and the man behind Aktor, Arkhamin Kirjasto and Circle, among a dozen of other projects. Given I have covered a few of the above, I thought I’d give Steel Mammoth a try as well.

Predecessors to Atomic Oblivion by Steel Mammoth were promised to be “some of the heaviest metal records you will ever hear”. Not sure about that, but after the long pause Atomic Oblivion is certainly a fit with the New Wave of Finnish Heavy Metal movement, and, compared to Steel Mammoth earlier psychedelic rock releases, the album is stepping up to the proper placement in the metal department. Many of its shorter, faster, more aggressive cuts (Heavy Muscle Tissue, Shadow Sanctuary) rely on fuzzy groovy riffs, with the drum/bass engine churning underneath. Such thick bottom end (Radiation Poetry) is certainly an attribute of Steel Mammoth moving in the heavier direction. The groove can be slightly atonal (The Beyond Beyond the Beyond), or more melodic (Shit Testament), but the band almost consciously restrains itself, checking off becoming too sweetly sick, instead sticking with a punky debauchery direction (Shit Testament). Being Finnish a weird folk angle cannot be avoided altogether either, but Steel Mammoth waits until the ending title track to go there.

Punky metal groove, with chugging riffs, Atomic Oblivion is by no means void of psychedelic atmosphere. The wackiness seeps through many a crack here. Songs like Gimme Gimme Nothing are loopy altogether. Vocals (by Lehtisalo and Ville Pirinen, my understanding) are combination of young Lemmy shouts with a touch of Ozzy’s weep. In songs like Radiation Poetry the vocals sound totally demented, for example. With a touch of processing on the vocals and creepy keyboards, as well as protracted cosmic solo, Clearing of Frost sounds like crazy rock’n’roll. Imagine a sped up Hawkwind, and that is how I accepted Clearing of Frost. On another longer cut, Armageddon Speed, Steel Mammoth goes two-tier. From slower doomier beginning and sensitive hurt voice, the track transitions, via a long solo, into a polyphonic sitting above the churning boiler room.

Free-spirited and not afraid of being heavy and irrational at once, Atomic Oblivion may just be a few tracks too long for my liking. Its offending, surprising shtick becomes obvious rather soon, and even though the album is only 30+ min long, it may still lose Quantum Slave and Shadow Behavior and not suffer much. It seems to me though that Steel Mammoth proprietors won’t care either way. Atomic Oblivion sounds very much like a swan song, where all available material was piled in altogether, fitting or not. Punky attitude rules, and when did that attitude give a shit?

Killing Songs :
Shit Testament, Armageddon Speed, Atomic Oblivion
Alex quoted 70 / 100
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