Release Date: Apr 9, 2012
Record label: Neurot
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
You don't get to be called space-doom without being pretty out-there as it is, but even by Ufomammut's standards, the opening track of the Italian trio's sixth album is a surprise. Charting the point equidistant between Pink Floyd, Vangelis and LTJ Bukem, Empireum sounds like the lost broadcasts of an ancient alien civilisation (one that has a penchant for doom metal, obviously. ) Things get more grounded with the churning, planet-sized riffs and death-march drumming of Aureum and Infearnatural – but, in the background, distorted chants, wails and radio interference accompanied by swaths of analogue synths give the whole album a distinct, and unsettling, unearthliness.
Pink Floyd may have gone to the Dark Side of the Moon, Hawkwind In Search of Space, and the Melvins to Gluey Porch Treatments (whatever that means), but their new millennium space/sludge metal disciples, UFOmammut, have gone to all three and back…several times. In fact, the Italian group's career could very well be summed up by the triumph of developing their own, relatively unique and instantly recognizable sound, and the challenge of remaining consistently inventive within its boundaries. Recent UFOmammut offerings have certainly been more successful as unified groupings of musical movements, meant to be sampled uninterrupted in dark basements (preferably with bong in hand), than for individually stellar songs, and this trend holds true for the band's ambitious sixth album, featuring ten tracks in two parts (the first of which started a new relationship with Neurot Recordings in 2012).
Egalitarian is unlikely to be the first word that leaps to mind when you think about the heavy metal community. Admittedly, metal has a couple of dubious neighborhoods, but the vast majority of the metal fraternity don’t decide on a band’s worth in relation to its geographic location or its cultural make-up. Reputation is what counts the most. A good metal band is a good metal band no matter where it originates, and Italian trio Ufomammut has had no problem securing its status as one the leading contenders of the shadowy psychedelic doom set.Oro: Opus Primum, Ufomammut’s seventh and latest album, comprises five songs that form the first part of an epic 10-track odyssey.
Ufomammut are an experimental metal act based in Italy. Their name is a portmanteau of U.F.O. (the abbreviation for "unidentified flying object," often used to describe what people believe are alien spacecrafts) and "mammut," the Italian word for mammoth. It's clear that they hope to evoke something both gigantic and nimble, embodyomg both immensity and mystery in their songwriting.
There's a classic episode of The Simpsons in which Homer, after having lambasted every single entry in Springfield's annual chili cook-off, samples several of Chief Wiggum's 'Merciless Peppers of Quetzlzacatenango' and, as a result, proceeds to embark upon the most densely cosmic and hallucinatory journey imaginable. After encountering a giant snake, a psychedelic butterfly and accidentally breaking the sun, Homer's trip culminates in a deeply spiritual encounter with a space coyote who leads him to question the very foundations of his own existence. Now, in your minds, if you can replace the image of a space coyote with that of three imposing stoners with long hair and massive beards, you should be left with the visual equivalent to an ungodly slab of psychedelic doom metal that goes by the name of Opus Primum.
Latin 101 points to Primum betraying Oro as the first installment of yet another double album halved by a label. Italian doom merchants "Mammoth UFO" thus can't duplicate the tight encapsulation of 2010 origin story Eve in 51 minutes, although 14-minute lunar landing "Empireum" could power Alien craft Nostromo. Tsunami drone ("Aureum"), druid rites ("Magickon"), and more war of the worlds ("Infearnatural") prep Opus Alter next month.