Album Review: Hunting Grounds by Mothers of the Land (StoneFree Records)

Heavy Psych Rockers, Mothers of the Land, will release their brand new album, Hunting Grounds, on the 19th of June via StoneFree Records.

Mothers of the Land is an instrumental psych rock band founded in Vienna in 2012 by Georg Pluschkowitz (Pastor) on guitar, Johannes “Jon” Zeininger on bass, and Jakob Haug on the drums. After trying different line-ups, they found their ideal constellation in 2015 with Jack Jindra (Locracy) on the additional guitar. Not long after, in June 2016, their live recorded DIY Debut-Album “Temple Without Walls” was released and gained great international reception from listeners, artists, and bloggers, resulting in fruitful collaborations around the globe. Having played dozens of gigs with international headliners like Asteroid, Elder, and Red Fang, the band provides powerful performances that lure in the audiences deeply through the surreal worlds they create.

Recorded and mixed by Nino Del Carlo, mastered by Lukas Wiltschko (LW Sonics) and with artwork from Dr Knoche, Hunting Grounds is the bands second album, following 2016’s Temple Without Walls.

Mothers of the Land Hunting Grounds Band Pic
Known for crafting powerful vintage rock epics, centred around the spiralling psychedelia of their twin lead guitars, Mothers of the Land create with the new Hunting Grounds surreal worlds in which the emotions of the human soul float.

Drummer Jakob Haug stated:

“Four years of passionate work finally cumulate in Hunting Grounds and we found the perfect team to catch our sound.”

Hunting Grounds comes with 6 tracks on it weighing in at around 38 minutes in length. First up comes Harvest and any fears of not really wanting a full instrumental album quickly disappear as you get swept up in conflicting emotions. A gentle acoustic intro gives way to a stampeding drum and bass line that really gets the adrenaline flowing. Simultaneously the lead guitars drop layers of thought provoking melody over the top leaving you feel quite introspective. You completely forget about the lack of lyrics as the harmonies form words and images in your mind anyway.

Hunting Grounds follows, starting with a little bass line before the drums join in. I love the pace of the drums and find their restrained tapping quite hypnotic. The guitars that then join in are glorious and dripping in emotion. Being a longer song, there are loads of transitions with some nice chugging riffs and tons of harmonised solos all while holding a solid pace for most of the song. We get a slight breather as the drums and bass fade away to leave a single echoing guitar before we jump back in again. The ending to this track is sublime too with a jump in tempo and fuller drum sound that will get heads nodding and feet tapping.

The Beast has a wicked NWOTHM feel to it, especially at the start before we go through many different passages with harmonised guitars, a heavy bass line and strong drum rhythms. There is a darker feel to The Beast overall. Even in among the beautiful melodies and clean harmonising, you feel there were some demons to be exorcised here. Hunting Grounds continues on with Queen of the Den next. This is yet another top notch slab of music. It takes you on a bit of an adventure. I love the constantly ascending tones. There is a nice dark feel to proceedings with some nice crunches.

The drums are strong too though the music is geared towards the insanely skilled guitarists who seem to whip you into a fevered frenzy and then drag you down into that introspective pit. With two more tracks to go, the length of the tracks jump considerably. Hunting Grounds is near 7 minutes but otherwise the tracks have all been 5 minutes and under. The final two tracks get nearer the 9 minute mark and I have to wonder how much I will enjoy them being pure instrumental.

The penultimate track is Sanctuary and it flies by. It seems Mothers of the Land just get more expansive and more creative with more time so you hardly notice it as you move through transitions. The sorrowful crying guitars at the start work wonderfully as a foil for the sudden jump into heavy which in turn acts as a wonderful foil for the sudden drop back into melancholy. The final track is Showdown and it keeps up the trend of being impressive from a musicianship perspective, though provoking and fun to listen to and extremely accessible.

The near 9 minutes go quick hitting you with some great riffs and of course loads of harmonised guitars. The drums and bass keep a nice steady pace going that keeps your head nodding along nicely. As expected there are plenty of transitions between the rocking riffs and more ballad like solos. I especially love the speedy solos played around half way through. That’s impressive!

To be fair, it is hard not to be impressed throughout the whole of Hunting Grounds. I really enjoyed the album. Mothers of the Land are insanely skilled. Almost unfairly so. They have put together 6 exciting and poignant songs that tell a story through sound rather than word. I do think the drums and the bass could do with a bit more to them. The bass occasionally gets lost behind the whirling guitars while the drums are very gentle. I would love to hear those ramped up a bit so we get the full band experience.

Overall though, I think Hunting Grounds could easily make fans of people who don’t normally listen to instrumental music. It is captivating and exciting, sweeping you up on their soundwaves and carrying you on the journey with them.

Preorder your copy of Hunting Grounds, with a very limited run of 300 vinyls, as well as on digipak and digital from the labels store, here, or from Bandcamp, here.

Mothers of the Land Links

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  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.

Hunting Grounds by Mothers of the Land (StoneFree Records)
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