Mammút – The Hope And Ruin – 22nd November 2017

Mammút – The Hope And Ruin
Photo by Ben Walker

An Icelandic five-piece to be watching, Mammút are a group who thrive on a twisted and darkened sound whilst including the reliability and serene melodies which really sets them apart from the many. Tonight, accompanied by the fantastic Broen, the group put on a truly spectacular performance.

Another international group, Broen hail all the way from Norway and enter the stage under their colourful masks. Their newest record, I <3 Art, was released by Brighton’s very own Bella Union so the group have managed to find themselves a strong cult following within the Brighton scene and it’s clear that many have come down specifically for their set. Their set is experimentalism at its very finest, the use of a highly distorted tuba is simply genius and vocalist, Marianna Roe, has a terrific energy and her passion is more than visible behind the heavenly vocals and harmonies. Broen’s sound is incredibly unique and more varied than most bands I’ve ever come across, the set features aspect of jazz, hip-hop and soul all melded into one trippy aura and the result is simply fantastic as the crowd can equally be seen relishing in the sound waves. This will definitely not be the last time that the Brighton shores are greeted by this wonderful band.

Mammút follow and the room has filled to a sizeable capacity and immediately flood the room with their powerful melodies. Their sound may be dramatically contrasting to Broen’s chilled ambience, but the rockiness does add a nice level of fuzzy edge to the evening. Katrína Mogensen’s vocals are even more powerful than expected and have such a level of incredible variance to them, that every song feels fresh and adds a necessary level of colour to the performance. Also released through Bella Union, Mammut’s new record Kinder Versions is a piece of captivating creativity. For fans of Pumarosa’s The Witch, you’ll definitely be able to find something on this record which you’ll enjoy.

This is definitely a band who have got both the image and talent; ‘Pray For Air’ holds a strong sinister vibe to it which Katrína revels in brilliantly, her piercing eyes lock onto individual audience members, creating an uncomfortable feeling which only emphasises the brutality of the song’s lyricism and harsh instrumentals. The screams of guitar solos only add to the atmosphere and really bring the sound into another dimension, the group all proceed to thrash around as though they are under some kind of spell, making for a truly mesmerising rendition.

Singing in a second language is an incredibly testing challenge for any artist and, on the whole, Mammút do achieve their English poetics very well. There are moments where the lyricism does fall flat due to misunderstood interpretations, but not so much that it defers from the performance. I actually found myself to be more enticed by the group’s Icelandic tracks: ’Glæður’ captures Katrina’s voice terrifically and, as the rest of the instrumentals grow, the track reveals a level of beautiful texture which really hits hard. I couldn’t help feeling that the song was a brilliant demonstration of music’s innate ability to overcome barriers of any form.

An evening with Mammút is not one which you will come away from feeling deflated, the group are all incredibly talented, captivating to watch, and put on a show which is exquisitely delivered. The passion behind their sound is something which many bands typically shy away from showing, but it’s clear just how much each member cares about the music. Mammút may be a long way from home, but it can be certain that when they next return to Brighton they’ll be greeted with an even bigger response, as this is a band who you shouldn’t pass up on seeing.

Ben Walker