This is the kind of album that makes you want to bang your head against a wall and scream, "What the hell were these guys thinking?" A gut reaction that should not be misconstrued as to suggest that Leftovers, Relics and Rarities is a gawdawful album, but instead a reflection of how brilliant it is. Let's back up to 1986, when the great, hairy, prehistoric monster of a band first formed. And a grand idea it was: round up a herd of larger-than-life musicians, give them wads of green to chomp on, and let them loose in the studio...where things immediately began going wrong. As fans are well aware, a rift opened up between purist, hard rocking guitarist Kenny Cox and American market-minded bassist John McCoy and singer Nicky Moore. It certainly left Bernie Tormé, called in to replace the soon errant Cox, in confusion, as he recalls in the set's excellent sleeve notes. So much so, that on a couple of occasions when asked to recut Cox's guitar parts, he refused, which says much for both his integrity and the Mammoth man's work. The band would have none of it though, and in the case of "Political Animal" replaced their strayed member with a saxophone. Of course, it's all a bit more complicated than even that, but you can read the details for yourself. In any event, Mammoth's eponymous album eventually appeared in 1989, but by then the group had entered a very silly stage, and then lumbered quickly into extinction. Now however, the bones of Mammoth have been dug up from the past to roam the wilds of our imaginations, straight from McCoy's archives. Here we can experience "Animal" in all its compulsive glory, before the sax wiped out Cox's guitar solos; an earlier, heavier, more storming version of "Let Me Out"; and a shortened, particularly catchy cut of "Thirty Pieces of Silver." There's three versions of "Bet You Wish" to choose from, a haunting early take of "Dark Star" titled "Dark Storm," a surprisingly understated version of "Allways and Forever" that still shines like the star it is, and a rough and tumble early demo of "None But the Brave" titled "Tonight." Rehearsal tapes, demos, radio sessions, songs that never made it on to disc, this is an incredible treasure trove of music. Too long seen as little more than a fat joke taken too far, this is Mammoth as they should have been, a massive band with a sound to match, and like their namesakes they were an unstoppable musical force of nature, like a shaggy pachyderm in full charge. Now you can hear them roar once more.