f surprising news, long-running Italian Doom Metal and art collective Ufomammut has announced their indefinite hiatus effective immediately, according to a post on the bands’ Facebook account. They have also announced that drummer Vita, in the group for the last 20 years, has stepped down. There is no work on how this affects their label Supernatural Cat Records or their art company Mallus Rock art lab, owned by the other members Poia and Urlo. The group just celebrated its twentieth anniversary as a band with special releases and a world tour. Their XX release from 2019 as of now will be their final release.
So here’s me expecting The Mon to be a product of a maniacal Scottish ego. Imagine my surprise to find that it’s an alter-ego of Urlo, bassist and vocalist of Italian heavyweights Ufomammut: and, far from that trio’s cosmic crescendo, Doppelleben (Shadow Kingdom Records) is far more introspective and pared back. Continue reading
The serious ripples caused by 2010’s Eve (Supernatural Cat) led many to their first experience of arcane Italian trio Ufomammut, yet this was in fact the band’s sixth full-length; an at that point eleven-year career of garnering underground plaudits suddenly threatening to blow over into major interest. The seismic shift created by the ensuing double-volume product Oro, their first for Neurosis‘ label Neurot Recordings, propelled the mind-expanding titans into a different galaxy, and as a result there are rabid stirrings in anticipation of ninth album Ecate (also Neurot).
From the outset, sci-fi style bleeps and effects pepper the ears but the rumbling buzz is present, lying in wait: first leading in Vita‘s gradually surging drums, monolithic in their weight and cavernous in scope; then, Urlo‘s squalling, utterly terrifying bass growls. As that humming electricity transfers itself into the bulldozing, heavy Stoner riff of opener ‘Somnium’ the listener is transported to a place halfway between hell and outer space. The oppressive, mounting coda houses hollers straight from the Conan handbook, closing a track exuding all the band’s characteristics: that ability to subtly set the scene; the ascension to stoner-blues rambles of the kind offered up by Karma to Burn, yet rendering the power of that outfit toothless; the psychedelic warbles raining upon evil, Doom-laden atmospheres; and the spitting terror of Urlo’s diseased vocal, steeped in the infected sludge of the filthiest morass. The macerating power of the following, city-flattening ‘Plouton’ is a wondrous, fearful experience, whilst coy yet sinister squeaks and ominous rumblings open the subsequently pulsing, shamanic anger of ‘Chaosecret’.
It’s this latter morphing of energy, an innate inventiveness which leaves the listener at a loss of what to expect next without sacrificing the element of power, that marks out Ufomammut from so many of their ilk. In the case of ‘Chaosecret’ that manifests itself in a perfect sense of occasion and timing, slowly yet suddenly enabling the track to build and swell into a hulking, crushing monstrosity, so organically it goes almost unnoticed. At its terrible height, such is the coruscating power the band emit that you can feel the pain of the cabs, protesting under the weight of the throbbing, impossibly heavy yet latent groove of ‘Temple’; switching from a laid-back vocal to an all-out Stoner-Sludge attack, the sound at times numbing the senses with its all-consuming omnipotence. Even the delicate, cosmic ‘Revelation’, the second of two sub-five minute tracks defying the band’s usual epic format, is pounded by oscillating bullets of electronica in complex swathes of beauty and ferocity.
Alongside the gradually increasing influence of atmosphere and keys, the pulverising hammer blows covering the second half of closer ‘Daemons’ thankfully prevent its monotonous early sections from negatively affecting an otherwise stupendous display of might; and, in turn, lay the path for a fragile, pensive and utterly fitting coda. Whilst not eclipsing the Oro opi, Ecate gives them a bloody good run for their money and reinforces Ufomammut’s burgeoning reputation as flag-bearers for pulsating, inventive, low-end noise.
Before I’d even heard a note from Zolle I read online somewhere someone downing the band, saying they were a joke and their label, Supernatural Cat, and the member of (the almighty) Ufomammut who guests on the album should be ashamed of their involvement. To whomever that was, you couldn’t be more wrong, brother. The self-titled debut from this Italian duo might be a little off the beaten path but that path less traveled makes for some mighty fine hiking! Continue reading