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Mammal – ‘Slaves’

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Rarely has an artist got it so right live, but so wrong in the studio. With the various acts that Ezekiel Ox – the vocalist with only one speed: ludicrous speed – has fronted, their live shows have always been testosterone-driven sweat-fests of rock ‘n’ roll bravado. Full Scale, or more succinctly Ox, knew how to whip a crowd into a frenzy. It’s no wonder they picked up a deal in the U.S. of A. But it’s also no surprise it didn’t work either – and the disintegration of the band has been put into writing by former bass player Rob Kaay.

Picking up the pieces, dusting himself off and getting right back on the horse, Ox found himself a new batch of musicians and together they called themselves Mammal. The first positive thing they did was shed the undercurrent of ’80s theatrics that weaved throughout Full Scale and annoyed the crap out of me everytime I heard one of their overblown riffs.

But what they kept was the intensity – and needless to say, it’s a hard task following these Melbournites when you’re playing with them. But again the music lacked what the live show gave the punters. The songs were OK, but the performance made them awesome. Take away the performance, and the songs are lukewarm at best. It’s probably why Mammal’s first release was a live album.

It’s taken a while, but I think Ezekiel Ox and co. are finally at the turning point. ‘Slaves’ has a punk/funk rock aesthetic with enough intelligence to sustain a 3 minute listening session without needing the band to run riot in front of you. So kudos Mammal for showing me it’s not only showmanship up your sleeve, but the promise that something greater lies ahead.



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