Mamaleek - Diner Coffee (The Flenser)

Shapeshifting once again, the demonic duo-turned-collective of Mamaleek present us with an eerie and tragicomic album, anxieties fuelled by caffeinated ichor. The question is whether this new cup of joe has the right blend.

Unlike fellow jazz-metal social critics Imperial Triumphant, Mamaleek’s music is private; they conjure claustrophobic apartments as opposed to monolithic skyscrapers. This intimacy is enhanced by the urgent character of the vocals “Badtimers” features a performance reminiscent of labelmate Raygun Busch’s ramblings, while “Boiler Room” possesses a humorous, Waitsian quality. To further this end musically, they shift away from their blackened origins, at first employing bitter blasts of sludge Pyrithe’s erratic style comes to mind. However, this is a red herring. As the album progresses, the moody stylings of Kurdaitcha manifest in sullen jazz fusion, with some nods to the dusky post-rock of Bark Psychosis. Swells emerge from moody noodling and judicious keys.

This less immediate approach creates a vibe that can really get under one’s skin. But as this continues, it loses its impact while the eponymous closer is a moving culmination of these meanderings, the album ultimately feels rather under-brewed; its midsection a faint aftertaste of the band's dark energy. Mamaleek will no doubt reinvent themselves once more, and hopefully their next effort will be able to better balance unnerving ambience with compelling heft. This decoction is gourmet, but sadly lukewarm.