Read Moby-Dick, and you'll find the founding text for modern American metal: "Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth . . . whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses . . . then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can." So call the nautical bent unique to the new wave of heavy metal roots-based music, if you like, but we're not exactly talking the blues when dealing with bands like Mastodon and Zoroaster.
Mammatus, a band named after "the heaviest cloud found on our home planet," doesn't play a particularly innovative form of Hawkwind-inspired stoner rock. Living just a few miles south of California's Humboldt County, however, they probably have better, shall we say, inspiration than most. And we're not just talking about the flora. Nautically speaking, Mammatus takes it to the next level. The title of its new album, The Coast Explodes, refers to the band's oceanside hometown of Corralitos, apparently a place of breathtaking synesthesia, massive sky-splitting purple sunset riffage, actual recordings (I shit you not) of sea lions, and even all-night campfire recorder jams. This 40-minute drive to the coast is definitely worth your time.