I’m not sure how much there is left to say about the magnitude of the work Italian space doom trio Ufomammut has done. The sense I get now in listening to the two full-length albums that comprise the whole of Oro, their Neurot Recordings debut, is that they’ll probably have another record out before this one is fully comprehended. One might have said the same thing about 2010′s Eve as well, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Broken into the two parts Oro – Opus Primum(review here) and Oro – Opus Alter(review here), Ufomammut‘s latest outing has them continuing to plunder the reaches of tonal space. Their sounds are far-out psychedelic even as they seem to bear a tectonic crunch, like plates moving continents. Bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Urlo, guitarist/keyboardist Poia and drummer Vita have persistent as a set trio since 1999, and have never failed to outdo their prior work on the subsequent outing.
The strata that’s put them into, however, is entirely their own. Eve– which was preceded by 2008′s Idolum, also one of that year’s best — was one long composition broken into individual pieces. Orois one album broken into two releases. Do you see where this is going? In a few years, Ufomammut will be issuing 10LP box sets each time out. Maybe not, but what matters most of all is that as the scale of their work has expanded, so has their creative scope, and Orois the most vibrant Ufomammut release to date. One would have to expect no less.
I waited to interview the band until Oro – Opus Alterwas released so that the full project could be discussed, and today I have the sincere pleasure of hosting both that Q&A and a video premiere for Ufomammut‘s self-made clip for the track “Sulphurdew.” Similar to how opening track “Empireum” from Oro – Opus Primum made its way to the public, “Sulphurdew” arrives as a YouTube clip constructed by the Malleus Rock Art Lab, of which Urlo — who fielded these questions — and Poia are a part.
You’ll find both the “Sulphurdew” video and the complete Q&A after the jump. Please enjoy.
Posted in Reviews on August 16th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Earlier this year, Italian space doom trio Ufomammut favored the world with the first half of their Neurot Recordings debut. Oro – Opus Primum (review here) remains a stunning achievement in an increasingly long string of them. 2010’s Eve (review here) was one of that year’s best, and 2008’s Idolum, 2005’s Lucifer Songs and 2004’s Snailking were resounding triumphs as well. Even their first album, 2000’s Godlike Snake (reissued in 2006) impressed in its scope, as did their 2007 collaboration with Lento, and like the universe their sound threatens to encompass at nearly every turn, Ufomammut seem on a course of endless expansion. The second half of Oro, appropriately dubbed Opus Alter, completes the two-part cycle and underscores how right it was for the band to break up the release in the first place. Taken as a whole, the two albums total 10 tracks and 94 minutes of overwhelming tonality, far-off echoing vocals and crushing psychedelic grooves. Oro is an astounding achievement from one of the most pivotal doom acts going. Make no mistake, its every thunderous moment rattles the ground on which it stands, but metaphorically and – if you turn the volume up loud enough to really let bassist Urlo’s low end shine through – literally. But released with Opus Primum and Opus Alter together as the double-album Oro, it might also have simply been too much. Instead, Opus Alter, which is about nine minutes shorter, is a fitting complement to its predecessor, and one that both affirms the ongoing growth of the band as that album presented it and continues to hint at further progression to come. Ufomammut did it right – two remarkable halves of a larger tracklist released in installments so that not a moment seems wasted and their listeners can fully appreciate what they’re doing. No single member of the band, be it Urlo, guitarist Poia or drummer Vita, is really doing anything so different on Opus Alter than they were on Opus Primum – it’s just that now the album has a second half.
It’s a strong one. Urlo and Poia provide prominent keys and synth work even before the doomed sub-shuffle of the instrumental “Oroborus” (one day I’m going to make a list of all the metal songs about ouroboros and the various spellings they use; perhaps this one is a pun on the album’s title) takes full hold, but once it does, there’s no doubt who you’re listening to. The song gets heavy twice. At 2:11, guitars kick in and it seems like the build established is hitting its peak, but then 30 seconds later, the bottom drops out on the low end and Oro – Opus Alter has truly begun. Ufomammut affect a landmark heavy psych build, and for a few minutes it seems like the song is going to live up to its name, just devour itself until there’s nothing left but the various swirls and noises that have come to be such a huge part of Ufomammut’s encompassing ambience, but a little before five minutes into the song’s total 7:55, there’s a break and the bass leads to a faster riff and beyond, to devastatingly heavy plod that finds Vita half-timing it on the drums, his cymbals nonetheless ringing clear the band’s crushing intent. They are so. Fucking. Heavy. The chugging guitar crashes cold, but noise fills out the break between “Oroborus and the subsequent “Luxon,” which – like all the tracks on Opus Alter safe for closer “Deityrant” – also starts quietly, gradually unfolding from its ambience. Deep, slow guitar chords announce “Luxon”’s stomp, and vocals are murky, far off and, to start, indecipherable, but like a distant chorus, they make themselves known anyway before at 1:45, the full breadth of the rumble kicks in and everything else plays off of that. Vocals remain obscure, as is Ufomammut’s wont, but come to the fore over a blissfully stoner groove led by Urlo’s swaying bassline and rounded out by Poia’s own low end. Of the material here, the opening of “Luxon” is among the most effective, though, and its development of parts isn’t exactly linear as opposed to one-into-the-next, but its flow is unquestionable, and there isn’t a turn Ufomammut present that seems out of place or confusing. That holds true as well going into the 12:19 centerpiece, “Sulphurdew,” which gets underway with a churning guitar figure filled out by synth noise and a steady beat from Vita until they reach the next plateau of their build. There are marked changes – another layer of guitar here, crash cymbals introduced here – but they occur in a steady progression of measures, almost so that you expect something to come without knowing exactly what.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
One of the most anticipated records still to come before the end of 2012, the second installment of Ufomammut’s Oro – Opus Alter is beginning to take shape. Check out the cover art for the album and PR wire info below:
Ufomammut unleash second teaser, reveal artwork, tracklisting and announce more tour dates in support of ORO: Opus Alter
Having previously announcing the arrival of the second installment of ORO – Opus Alter, which is to be released on 17 September on Neurot Recordings, we can now proudly unveil the delectable cover art for this next chapter brought to you once again by the unstoppable force that is the Malleus art collective…
We can also reveal the full tracklisting for this release which is as follows:
As with all previous Ufomammut albums, the concepts behind ORO are expansive and multi-faceted, mutating the Italian palindrome which translates to “gold” with the Latin translation of “I prey.” ORO explores the concept of knowledge and its power; the magical stream controlled by the human mind to gain control of every single particle of the world surrounding us. ORO is the alchemical process to transform the human fears into pure essence; into Gold. Although ORO‘s two chapters will be released months apart from each other, they must be considered as a single track in which the musical themes and the sounds appear and reappear, mutate and evolve, progressively culminating in the crushing final movement. ORO is an alchemic laboratory in which substances are flowing, dividing and blending themselves in ten increments from the alembics and stills, culminating into the creation of Gold.
Opus Alter is going to fulfill and widen the perspective of the new work of Ufomammut. Starting where Opus Primum ended, Opus Alter evolves deeper into devastatingly powerful new territory, where chaos is metamorphosed by cacophonous sound, until the final notes resonate, knowledge is forged and Ufomammut strike gold.
Stay tuned for more details regarding the release and tour are announced. Meanwhile check out the following confirmed dates so far:
AUGUST 13. ITA . Musica W Festival – Castellina Marittima (PI)SEPTEMBER 01. ITA . Rock in Riot Festival – Martinengo (BG)OCTOBER 04. D – Leipzig, UT Connewitz 05. D – Berlin, Bi Nuu – TBC 06. SWE – Malmo – Krank 09. FI – Turku , Klubi 10. FI – Tampere, Klubi 11. FI – Helsinki, Kuudes Linja 13. NOR – Oslo, Betong 15. D – Kiel, Alte Meierei 16. D – Koln, Underground – TBC 17. NL – Tilburg, 013 18. B – Kortrijk, De Kreun 19. NL – Utrecht, Ekko 21. UK – Birmingham, Supersonic Festival 23. F – Paris, Glazart – TBC 24. F – Poitiers, Le Comforte Moderne 25. F – Bordeaux, Heretic club – TBC 27. P – Porto -Amplifest (Hard Club)
Posted in On the Radar on July 26th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
If there’s one thing I like, it’s a band recommendation. Last week, I got put onto Black Black Black from Brooklyn, and this week it’s Snailking, from Sweden. The newly-formed trio (on Thee Facebooks here), who take their name from an Ufomammut record, are geared sonically in that direction as well. Their debut demo, Samsara, was self-released digitally at the end of June, but has already been picked up for a physical CD release on Consouling Sounds. One listen to the stream and it’s pretty easy to hear why.
Snailking make little bones about their YOB influence across these three tracks. In general, the riffing style of guitarist Pontus Ottosson reminds in some of its turns of early to mid-period YOB — whether it’s the opening of “Shelter” nodding at “Catharsis” or the closing of “Samsara” nodding at “The Mental Tyrant” — but invariably the dynamics are going to be somewhat different, and with bassist Frans Levin and drummer Karl Jonas Wijk, Snailking are just beginning to carve an identity within what will no doubt become a much more prevalent point of inspiration over the next several years. As far as that kind of thing goes, they’re still relatively early in arriving.
The three extended tracks on Samsara are more distinguished by Ottosson‘s vocals than the riffs, however. While the guitar keeps its Atma-styled jangle — albeit smoothly produced — through the majority of the demo’s 40 minutes, Neurosis-style shouting meets with a more melodic culmination on centerpiece “The Wake” — which, wow, sounds like YOB when those guitars kick in — and one can just quite get the sense that there could be more to Snailking than the derivations thus far presented. See if you can hear it on the player below, hoisted from their Bandcamp page. Either way, it’s thick space doom and a Swedish sample in there, so it’s not like you’ve got anything to lose:
Special thanks to Lisa Hass for the recommendation.
Posted in Features on April 29th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster
Listening to monstrous German psyche-doomers Mills of God‘s Modus Operandi debut, Call of the Eastern Moon (reviewed here), the trenchant pace with which its two tracks unfold is as much a part of the music as the notes that comprise it. The instrumental trio of bassist Kai Peifer, guitarist Moritz Czerny and drummer Patrick Alt induces a Yob/Ufomammut-style hypnosis without ever copycatting and over the course of the two new tracks on the record exercise a sonic lethargy that grooves on arterial doom and pulled strings.
It’s as though they asked Max Ludwig, who recorded Call of the Eastern Moon, “How much tape do you have?” and then without waiting for the answer, said, “We’ll take it.” It’s a rare band that works with a format as distinct as “20-minute doom epics only,” but Mills of God present an encompassing crush that draws you in for a listen and dismisses you only after the marrow is gone.
They first appeared with “The Seed,” in 2005. The song makes an appearance as track three of three on the CD version (the vinyl is just the two new songs) and is less set in its mission than its companion cuts — perhaps replacing then-drummer Christoph Salzmann with Alt had something to do with that — but the growth is nonetheless evident in even the most superficial listen. A Bob Weston (Shellac) mastering job makes Call of the Eastern Moon sound sharp and mean and loud, and it’s abundantly clear that this trip is just beginning.
After the jump, Peifer checks in with the band’s ambitions and processes, including how they got started, whether or not they’d ever add a vocalist to the mix, how slow is too slow, and when we might expect another installment of their thickly riffed madness.