If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you may recall that Mombu made the shortlist for best albums in 2013. They are truly a one-of-a-kind band. They play jazz-influenced, African rhythm metal music on mostly acoustic instruments (bari sax). The sound and energy of their 2013 album blew me away.
On Hunting Demons, Mombu have teamed up with Mosca Violenta. This EP only clocks in at around 23 minutes, but I’d rather have 23 minutes of excellent music than 46 minutes where half of it is filler. The combination of these two bands fills out the sound a bit more with the electric bass and alto sax.
The songs on the whole are a bit more downtempo than the previous release. This works quite well with this type of sound. For instance, “Trnka” works because the power comes from a slow, big sound in octaves and occasionally breaks up into power chords. It also has one of the most experimental free jazz sections. This, too, works well to dissociate the listener before returning to the main riff in its biggest form.
The track “Laamb” is a return to their previous sound. If I had heard this in isolation, I probably would have thought it had come from their last album. I like that they haven’t completely abandoned what worked so well. They’ve pushed in new directions on some tracks and given fans what they were used to on others. For some bands, I’d call this “safe,” but there is nothing safe about what these two bands are doing.
This EP is as fresh as ever, even on tracks that feel familiar. They still use complex, driving rhythms. They have moments of all-out assault whether it be through surprising use of metal or of powerful acoustic playing. They also have interesting slow sections. All of this happens in such a short space while still maintaining a constant and clear aesthetic.
Overall, this album is a hidden gem. The fact that it has been so overlooked is terrible. I hope both these bands continue to make music in the future. I give it a 9/10. Here’s a sample: