Welcome to The Lazarus Pit, a biweekly look at should-be classic metal records that don’t get nearly enough love; stuff that’s essential listening that you’ve probably never heard of; stuff that we’re too lazy to track down the band members to do a Hall Of Fame for. This week, we’re going on a 50 million year trip over the course of (what feels like) a million-year summer with Acrimony and their Tumuli Shroomaroom (Peaceville).
Even though Wales’ contribution to extreme music in the 21st century consists of Bullet for My Valentine, Funeral for a Friend, and Lostprophets, it spawned a much more notable (if significantly less successful) act in the closing decade of the 20th: Acrimony. As far as I know, they don’t have any deserts in Wales, just space-time rifts and really strange names, but Acrimony make it seem like that rainy, oft-forgotten part of the United Kingdom is sunbaked and full of cactuses and ugly lizards.
Influenced by the usual colorful suspects (Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd), Acrimony were one of the first stoner-style bands to come out of the UK. While they weren’t all that different than their peers in Sky Valley or New Jersey, we don’t listen to stoner rock for its innovation – we listen to it for the thundering bottom end and awesome jams. Their debut, Hymns to the Stone, came out at around the same time as Paradise Lost’s Icon and My Dying Bride’s Turn Loose the Swans, but these guys were obviously way less depressed than the guys making waves in England proper. The songs weren’t quite there at that point, either, and by 1996, when their sophomore record, Tumuli Shroomaroom, came out, people were already very familiar with the sound they were offering. Still, it’s a pretty rad concoction.
At 65 minutes, this thing is certainly expansive, but never boring. You have scrawling, sprawling scribbles of guitar solos on “Vy,” holidays on the beach in Andromeda with “Million Year Summer,” a pastoral Led Zeppelin-style acoustic instrumental called “Turn the Page,” bubbling bong water on “The Bud Song,” and a song called “Motherslug (The Mother of All Slugs),” which pretty much describes itself. They hit all the buttons you want them to hit, effortlessly providing the soundtrack for you to nod your head to for an hour. Again, if you’ve heard Monster Magnet or Kyuss, you’ll be familiar with what’s on display here – but it is really easy for this stuff to sound lazy, and it never does here.
Tumuli Shroomaroom was pretty well-received when it came out (even earning a perfect score from noted humor magazine Kerrang!), but if Kyuss couldn’t sell records, these guys weren’t going to, and they broke up soon after. Some of the members have reformed as the excellent Sigiriya, who are definitely worth checking out if you’re into heavy excellence. Unfortunately, Tumuli is way out of print and goes for ridiculous prices on eBay, so if you see it for cheap, grab it. Just don’t, you know, lick this particular psychedelic shroom.
Official site (vintage 1998!)