Written entirely during lockdown, Acid Mammoth’s third album, Caravan serves as the direct descendent to the previous release Under Acid Hoof and is the fourth release on Heavy Psych Sound Records for the Greek stoner doomers.
Opening track ‘Berserker thunders along with hefty bass lines and fuzzed-out riffs, as you would expect, its catchy rhythms set the tone well, early on and get you immediately tapping along and invested in the journey this record ultimately takes. This is followed by ‘Psychedelic Wasteland’ which suddenly changes gear and slows things down to a totally fuzzed-out, trippy ride, the drums representing more of a slow march to a hazy doom and the foreboding guitar work only adds to the imagery conjured up here before the vocals creep in with a Sabbath-like manner. The track runs at a little over eight minutes which, In my opinion, could have been trimmed down as the track doesn’t really progress past what it sets out in the beginning.
Track three, ‘Ivory Towers’ follows on sharing the same tempo and riff structure and doesn’t really offer much change until around the two-minute mark, this could easily be confused as the same track should you not be paying attention or not loading the tracks individually, once the structure is changed it’s not for very long and the trudging riff structure returns, overall this track seems to offer little in the way of variety at the midpoint of this five-track release.
The remainder of the record includes the eleven-minute title track and opens with the familiar doom and gloom but thankfully changes the makeup from the previous two tracks, this one hits in a different way. It’s low and slow fuzz, pure stoner rock from its slow creep to its fuzzy, distorted tone, there is more of a sombre feel to the early stages which only reinforced my feelings that the opening track was more of a “single” than a sample of what could be found on the full release. As ‘Caravan’ progresses through it the vocals add different layers of atmosphere to proceedings even if the music being played remains fairly consistent (until a solo section around the seven-minute mark).
To close things out we have ‘Black Dust’ clocking in at nearly nine minutes. This track is sewn together by an almost bluesy riff smothered in smoke and once layered with the vocals, bass and drums it develops into possibly the most interesting track on the record save the opening ‘Berserker. While in no way is Caravan a bad album, it’s full length in terms of run time, don’t let the five-song tracklist fool you, it just seems to falter a little in the middle, mixing up the sound of ‘Ivory Towers’ would, to my mind, have been the easier fix to add a touch more variety and replay value to the midsection.