Mammoth Grinder Credit: Jillian Keats

Lordy. As if last year’s Power Trip record, Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord), wasn’t enough of a super boon from the Texas-born purveyors of pummeling thrash metal, this January we were blessed with Mammoth Grinder’s Cosmic Crypt (Relapse)—the Austin band’s first full-length in five years. Fronted by Power Trip drummer Chris Ulsh, Mammoth Grinder lay down a more subterrestrial blend of death and thrash than their metal brethren, which Ulsh complements with a baleful growl that compares to the sound of a concrete saw being run through a drum of gelatinized street sludge. Musically speaking, the tenets of death metal are very well represented—tremolo picking is bountiful, and the bell of the ride cymbal is worked precisely and methodically—while the album’s production corners that the-world-is-a-barren-wasteland-and-we’re-doomed-to-perish-in-its-inevitable-nuclear-holocaust vibe prevalent among the best current throwback-thrash bands. Standout tracks like “Servant of the Most High” sound so controlled in their blown-out chaos that it can be easy to miss just how frenetic they are. It’s only when a raging, skyscraping guitar solo slices through the muck that you’re left with little choice but to focus on everything crashing down around you.   v