Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I wonder if the shipping on exports costs more when they’re this heavy. This fall, venerable concern Life is Noise will present the thunderdoom pairing of Italian cosmic doom progenitors Ufomammut and Swedish riff-crushers Monolord, which if the point hasn’t gotten across yet is a formidable pairing indeed, both acts preceded by their reputation for being heavy as hell.
For Monolord, this six-show run will follow an extensive US tour with Beastmaker and Sweat Lodge that will be their first time in North America as headliners, while Ufomammut have reportedly been working on new material presumably with an eye toward a 2017 release. That’s the hope, anyway. They’ve also been playing fests and other select dates in Europe.
Life is Noise sent the following down the PR wire:
LIFE IS NOISE PRESENTS: UFOMAMMUT (ITA) & MONOLORD (SWE) AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND TOUR
LIFE IS NOISE is proud to announce the first visit to our shores of Italian space doom virtuosos Ufomammut, along with masters of the riff, Swedish three-piece Monolord.
These two behemoths will be laying waste to cities across Australia and New Zealand this October in a truly huge doom double-header.
Playing an ear-destroying brand of sludge-filled doom that lurches from brooding slow menace to soul-crushing riff with a decent slab of psych thrown in for good measure, Ufomammut have released a stack of studio albums of unimpeachable heaviness, culminating in last year’s Ecate – truly a masterpiece of nuanced doom that perfectly encapsulates the band’s career to date.
Drawing on influences such as Sleep, Sabbath, Windhand, and Conan, Swedish trio Monolord take reverence to the riff to new extremes, with their second record, 2015’s Vænir, mixing glacial tempos with hypnotic and otherworldly vocals that coalesce into an album of both beauty and malevolence.
Catch Ufomammut and Monolord on the following dates:
Wellington – San Fran – October 3 Auckland – Kings Arms – October 4 Brisbane – Crowbar – October 6 Sydney – Bald Faced Stag – October 7 Melbourne – Max Watt’s – October 8 Perth – Rosemount Hotel – October 9
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Before we get to all the tracks and this and that, I have to say, this double-size year-end podcast was an absolute pleasure to put together. Fun. Actual fun. I don’t know if it was the preponderance of excellent songs to work from that came out in 2015 or what, but I had a really good time making my way through the near-four-hour run, and I hope you feel that way too as you listen.
It should go without mentioning, but I’ll give the disclaimer anyway that this is in no way, shape or form a complete rundown of everything awesome produced this year. My own Top 10 has bands on it who aren’t represented here, so if you don’t see something you think belongs in the mix below — looking at you, Baroness fans — please keep in mind that it’s not my intent to offer anything more than a partial summary. Otherwise, I’d have to make it a year long.
Thanks for listening if you get the chance to do so, and if there’s something here you haven’t yet checked out, I hope you dig it. The flow is pretty easy front to back, but we get into some more extreme stuff in the third hour for a bit before going grand with Elder and the “Digestive Raga” from Øresund Space Collective, which seemed an appropriate way to end off giving everyone a chance to process what’s just been heard. Please enjoy.
Track details follow:
0:00:00 Acid King, “Red River” from Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
0:08:24 Clutch, “Firebirds” from Psychic Warfare
0:11:23 Bloodcow, “Crystals and Lasers” from Crystals and Lasers
0:14:28 Stoned Jesus, “Rituals of the Sun” from The Harvest
0:21:25 Ufomammut, “Plouton” from Ecate
0:24:33 Geezer, “So Tired” from The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter One Split w/ Borracho
0:32:36 Wizard Eye, “Thunderbird Divine” from Wizard Eye
0:37:40 Mondo Drag, “Crystal Visions Open Eye” from Mondo Drag
0:42:08 Fogg, “Seasons” from High Testament
0:48:26 Goatsnake, “Grandpa Jones” from Black Age Blues
0:53:02 Snail, “Thou Art That” from Feral
1:03:17 Sergio Ch., “Las Piedras” from 1974
1:06:40 All Them Witches, “Blood and Sand – Milk and Endless Waters” from Dying Surfer Meets His Maker
1:13:54 Death Hawks, “Ripe Fruits” from Sun Future Moon
1:18:45 Colour Haze, “Call” from To the Highest Gods We Know
1:26:46 Kadavar, “Last Living Dinosaur” from Berlin
1:30:50 Spidergawd, “Fixing to Die Blues” from Spidergawd II
1:35:02 The Machine, “Dry End” from Offblast!
1:38:01 The Midnight Ghost Train, “Straight to the North” from Cold was the Ground
1:42:00 Kind, “Pastrami Blaster” from Rocket Science
1:48:29 Valley, “Dream Shooter, Golden!” from Sunburst
1:54:22 Graveyard, “From a Hole in the Wall” from Innocence and Decadence
1:58:09 Demon Head, “Book of Changes” from Ride the Wilderness
2:02:50 Egypt, “Endless Flight” from Endless Flight
2:12:29 Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, “Empires of Dust” from Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
2:20:09 With the Dead, “I am Your Virus” from With the Dead
2:25:45 Ahab, “Red Foam (The Great Storm)” from The Boats of the Glen Carrig
2:32:08 Kings Destroy, “Mr. O” from Kings Destroy
2:36:37 Sun and Sail Club, “Dresden Firebird Freakout” from The Great White Dope
2:38:33 Sunder, “Wings of the Sun” from Sunder
2:42:41 Weedpecker, “Into the Woods” from Weedpecker II
2:50:50 Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, “Pusher Man” from The Night Creeper
2:56:26 Eggnogg, “Slugworth” from Sludgy Erna Bastard split w/ Borracho
3:02:48 Golden Void, “Astral Plane” from Berkana
3:09:34 Elder, “Lore” from Lore
3:25:24 Øresund Space Collective, “Digestive Raga” from Different Creatures
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If so inclined, one could probably find an update for every day of the week from Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds, which between its label and booking ends is helping to establish Italy as a major player in the European heavy rock underground — or at very least bring attention to the country’s contributions to same — but frankly it’s impossible to keep up with it all. Nonetheless, as Gabriele Fiori — also of Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie, as if he didn’t already have enough going on — brings together the lineup for the second edition of the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest, it’s hard not to admire the expanding scope of the project as a whole, one thing feeding into the next as it becomes a sustainable and growing whole.
With Ufomammut and Fiori‘s own Killer Boogie at the top, the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. 2 has announced its initial round of bands with the promise of more to come. I’m looking forward to seeing just how big this thing gets:
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL.2: Ufomammut, Killer Boogie, and more announced!
The first acts have been announced for Italy’s heavy music event HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST, with Ufomammut, Killer Boogie, Isaak, Throneless, Sgt Sunshine, Oak and Tons. A mouthwatering lineup that will be hosted in Roma’s famous venue Traffic Live this December.
– HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL.2 – December 11th & 12th at Traffic Live (Roma, Italy) Weekend & day tickets available soon
With UFOMAMMUT KILLER BOOGIE SGT SUNSHINE THRONELESS ISAAK OAK TONS …and more bands to be announced soon.
Hosted by Italian rock’n’heavy music label and booking agency Heavy Psych Sounds (Black Rainbows, Fatso Jetson, Karma To Burn, White Hills, Mos Generator…), the second edition of HPS FEST VOL.2 will once again bring the heaviest riffs to the peninsula for two days of doom, stoner and psych partying, with both established bands and newcomers from the HPS roster.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
What’s that you say? Only posting Ufomammut dates as an excuse to nerd out over the Malleus poster, marvel at the thought of seeing them play with Suma and pine about how good they were when I saw them in Brooklyn this past May? I resent the suggestion! Okay, no I don’t, but (1:) that poster is frickin’ rad, and “rad” isn’t a word I break out every day, and (2:) they were so gosh darn good this Spring that I feel like even though it was two seasons ago my ears are still ringing from it. They just completely out-doomed the room. And it was a pretty doomy room.
Awesome. Two needless rhymes in one paragraph. Calling it now — this is the post of the day.
Point is…. that Ufomammut continue to support their 2015 cosmos-basher Ecate (review here), which was released through Neurot Recordings, and that doing so only continues to make them stronger, like the Quickening, except instead of cutting someone’s head off, you put in grueling hours of work and waiting on tour and play for like 80 minutes and then get back to selling merch. So maybe not the Quickening. Did I mention how good they were in May?
The PR wire saves my rambling ass:
Ufomammut on the road in support of their latest album Ecate
Italy’s psychedelic doom masters, Ufomammut, are currently touring in support of their latest album Ecate. On the road for the whole of October, the band have already visited France and shall be performing in the UK and Ireland this week before heading to the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and more.
The majestic trio are known to put on a mind-bending live show, with their skilled interlacing of heavy textures, hypnotic tones and striking visual imagery. Such elements build upon each other, until they forge an all-consuming universe for the listener to lose themselves in. Ecate truly showcases Ufomammut’s mesmerising ability to do this. Here are the remaining tour dates:-
UFOMAMMUT ECATE TOUR
OCTOBER 05. Audio – Glasgow (UK) 06. Voodoo – Belfast (UK) 07. Grand Social – Dublin (IRL) 08. Soup Kitchen – Manchester (UK) 09. Islington Academy – London (UK) w/ Jex Thoth 10. Baroeg – Rotterdam (NL) 11. Desert Fest – Antwerp (BE) 13. Loppen – Copenhagen (DK) w/ Suma 14. SofieHof – Jonkoping (SWE) w/ Suma 16. Korjaamo – Helsinki (FIN) w/ Suma 17. Lutakko – Jyväskylä (FIN) w/ Suma 18. Klubi – Tampere (FIN) w/ Suma 20. Geronimo’s – Stockholm (SWE) w/ Suma 21. Blitz – Oslo (NOR) w/ Suma 22. Babel – Malmö (SWE) w/ Suma 23. Marx – Hamburg (DE) 24. Into the Void – Leuwaarden (NL) 25. Underground – Cologne (DE) 27. Bi Nuu – Berlin (DE) 28. Firley – Wroclaw (PL) 29. Ut connewitz – Leipzig (DE) 31. Bauhof – Pettenbach (A)
DECEMBER 11. Traffic – Roma (IT) 12. Alchemica Club – Bologna (IT)
This tour comes on the back of a great year for the band. Following Ecate’s spring release, which was brought to you by Neurosis’ Neurot Recordings, in conjunction with the band’s own Supernatural Cat Records, the band toured Europe which included appearances at both of this year’s Desertfest events in London and Berlin. Not to be stopped, the band then embarked on their first North American tour which saw their debut at Maryland Deathfest.
Orders for Ecate including limited edition vinyl, CD, shirt, and bundle deals are available. In North America stop by the Neurot Recordings store and internationally click to Supernatural Cat’s store.
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Whenever the hell it was that I started really doing podcasts again on a roughly-monthly basis, I said that there would be no theme from one to the other. That’s a rule I’ve bent a couple times since, and this is one of those instances as well. This podcast takes a look at the rather extensive lineup for Desertfest Belgium 2015 (posted in full here). It was a particular challenge to keep it to what’s become the standard two-hour format, but in the end, I think the tracklisting below brings together the headliners and some of the lesser known bands in a way that speaks to the breadth of the festival itself. Or at least I hope it does. It’s a killer mix, either way.
Worth noting that this is the second podcast this year that has started with Goatsnake. That is not an accident. I tried to keep things as current as possible here, and their new one destroys. I think the only cuts not from the band’s latest album are Bongzilla, Monomyth and Monolord, and well, the songs included speak for themselves either way.
Desertfest Belgium 2015 happens this weekend at Trix in Antwerpen. If, like me, you won’t be there, hope this provides a bit of fodder escapist daydreaming. If you’re going, it’s never to early to get psyched on it. Either way, please enjoy:
0:00:00 Goatsnake, “House of the Moon” from Black Age Blues
0:05:17 Crystal Head, “Wouldn’t You Know” from Crystal Head
0:08:05 Orange Goblin, “Demon Blues” from Back from the Abyss
0:12:40 Ufomammut, “Temple” from Ecate
0:20:08 Fever Dog, “The Great Tree” from Second Wind
0:26:05 Causa Sui, “Echo Springs” from Euporie Tide
0:30:56 Dozer, “Flood” from Beyond Colossal
0:34:46 Monolord, “Icon” from Empress Rising
0:42:56 Mars Red Sky, “The Light Beyond” from Stranded in Arcadia
0:50:55 Stoned Jesus, “Silkworm Confessions” from The Harvest
1:00:00 Fatso Jetson, “Flesh Trap Blues” from Split with Herba Mate
1:06:25 Bongzilla, “H.P. Keefmaker” from Apogee
1:16:46 Earth, “Badgers Bane” from Primitive and Deadly
1:29:05 The Machine, “Chrysalis (JAM)” from Offblast!
1:45:16 Monomyth, “Huygens” from Monomyth
Admittedly, it’s been a while since I pulled out Ufomammut‘s Snailking and gave it a go. Nothing — quite literally, nothing — against the Italian trio’s groundbreaking 2004 sophomore LP, but it’s not exactly like they never released anything afterwards. This year’s Ecate (review here), for example, would be bound to keep any Ufomammut fan occupied for a span, and I still feel like there’s more digging to be done before I’d be willing to say I thought the prior single-album-broken-into-two-releases Oro (review here and review here) had given up all its secrets. Snailking (previously discussed here) was the record that got me into Ufomammut. An underheralded US release came via shortlived imprint The Music Cartel, and while the band has followed that up with reissues in 2009 and 2011 through their own Supernatural Cat label, it’s still easy to label Snailking as something of a lost/would-be classic both for what it accomplished in itself and what it enabled Ufomammut to do afterwards.
The album itself is an absolute monster. At eight tracks/68 minutes, it feels almost insurmountable, but 28-minute closer “Demontain” doesn’t use all of its runtime. That song does underscore one of the key points that would later become essential to experiencing Ufomammut‘s work, however, and that is that it’s as much about the weight of the atmosphere the band creates as it is about the density of riffs or impact of grooves. Listening back to Snailking some 11 years after the fact, a song like “Odio” feels raw in comparison to a lot of what the trio have done since, but it’s important to keep in mind that even in their use of samples and synths to go with their sludgy riffing, Ufomammut were beginning the experiments that would become what we now think of today as cosmic doom in large part because of how they crafted it. The sometimes abrasive noise of “Alcool” and the rumble/explosion tradeoff of the earlier “Hopscotch” are the foundation points for Ufomammut‘s contributions to this aesthetic, and their roots in the likes of Neurosis and Sleep put them right in line with Oregon’s YOB, who are probably the only other band whose work has been so influential in the same sphere.
But it’s important to remember that Ufomammut are still writing their story, and that this album, which arrived four years after their 2000 debut, Godlike Snake, is but a pivotal chapter among several from the band. What they’d go on to do on records like 2008’s Idolum and 2010’s Eve (review here), their work in and with the Malleus art collective and their growth as a sustainable touring act has helped make them one of the finest groups of their generation, and while Snailking isn’t as expansive as what came after, it is in many ways a nexus point from which that Big Bang emanated.
Hope you enjoy.
I’m closing out the week early-ish on account of the fact that I’m interviewing Lori S. from Acid King at 4:30 (Eastern) and figure that’s as good a way to actually round out my day as anything else I can come up with. It was originally supposed to happen yesterday, the interview, but work stuff came up, as will apparently happen when one is gainfully employed.
…Sorry, had to stop for a couple seconds there and explore “gainful” in my head.
Might just have the Lorinterview (because portmanteau, that’s why!) up before next week is out, but if not definitely the week after since assuming everything goes to plan with the call we’ll be talking about the upcoming tour and it wouldn’t do to have the feature go up if the tour’s half over. We’re already almost halfway through September. Never mind July or August. What happened to June?
The last two weeks being four days at work helped, and having this past weekend to run down to Maryland for the Vultures of Volume II fest was huge for me. Thanks to everyone who got to check out either day’s review. I don’t think I did myself any favors with the second one being so long — I imagine most people who bothered to click in the first place either skimmed through one or two bands or just didn’t read it at all — but there was a lot to say. One day, 13 bands. That’s a lot to cover. Anyway, if you put eyes on any of it, thank you.
Next week, in addition to that interview (hopefully), look out for a track premiere on Monday from He Whose Ox is Gored and a review/full-stream on Tuesday from Leeches of Lore. Might try to review the new Windhand as well before the week is up. We’ll see how I wind up for time.
Thanks to everyone for reading this week, and please have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Am I crazy, or does demanding a refund after the Melvins drop off a festival bill seem completely over the top? I mean, I agree Desertfest Belgium 2015 should give their customers the chance to back out if they so desire, but who goes to a fest to see one band in the first place? And it’s not like the Melvins aren’t on tour nine months out of every single year. I guess it just wouldn’t occur to me to be like, “No Melvins? Fuck this!” but then, I’m not the hugest Melvins fan anyway. Maybe those people exist. Takes all kinds.
Desertfest Belgium 2015 looks pretty sweet with Orange Goblin and Fatso Jetson on top of the bill, and adding Ufomammut, Causa Sui, Valient Thorr, Carlton Melton, Child and Wheel of Smoke, as they have today certainly doesn’t hurt their case any. I don’t have tickets, but if I did, I’d keep them.
Kind of a bummer situation that seems to have led to the Melvins backing out, though. You can read about it below, as sent down the PR wire:
MELVINS FORCED TO CANCEL DESERTFEST 2015
We have to start off this announcement with some very unfortunate news: Melvins will not be playing the 2015 edition of Desertfest Belgium.
The band was forced to cancel their appearance at the festival due to an exclusivity contract for their shows at the 2015 Incubate festival in Tilburg. This fact unfortunately only surfaced after our public announcement had been made. We have tried to negotiate a deal that would be satisfactory for both events, but to no avail. Desertfest Belgium has no choice but to accept there will be no Melvins at our 2015 edition.
We want to stress that we at Desertfest were not made aware of this exclusivity deal at the time the booking was confirmed. Please understand that the band also has no choice in the matter.
We can only offer you our sincere apologies, and we hope we have your understanding and support in this most unfortunate turn of events. But in the case this makes you reconsider your purchase of an early bird ticket, we want to offer our supporters the chance to demand a refund.
Tickets will be refunded for two weeks on from today (until 27/7), contact us through email@example.com.
However, before you make such a drastic decision, you may first want to read this first:
NEW NAMES confirmed for DesertFest 2015!
UFOMAMMUT Ufomammut needs no introduction, as they have long established their status as one of the most potent, powerful and artistic contemporary doom artists in existence. They offer a unique brand of psychedelic sludge, blending primordial acid with sinister atmospheres and gloomy sounds of vintage electronics.
In fifteen years the band has performed at international music festivals like Roadburn, Hellfest, Dour Fest, Stoned from the Underground, Up in Smoke and many more… Their live show is supported by the internationally acclaimed video and graphic art of Malleus, whose visuals match the devastating impact of Ufomammut’s massive sound. http://www.ufomammut.com/
VALIENT THORR “My God they’re striking. All Hail Thorriors!” – Wayne Kramer, MC5. A wild-ass rock’n’roll band said to hail from the inner core of the planet Venus. Since crash landing on Earth in the year 2000 they’ve played well over 1500 shows all over the world, including stints at festivals like Download, Sonisphere, Hellfest, Graspop and Roskilde. http://www.valientthorr.com/
CARLTON MELTON They play live, loud, improvised, experimental, instrumental, psychedelic music that they record in a geodesic dome near the coast of Northern California. This should tell you everything you need to know about this bunch of rock royalty (including ex-members from cult band Zen Guerilla). Long Live Dome Rock! http://www.carltonmeltonmusic.com/
CAUSA SUI Causa Sui’s sound has been described as the sound of a giant wave rolling up through the last four decades of rock. Over the course of eight albums since 2005, they have developed an eclectic instrumental sound that owes as much to electric Miles Davis or Can as it does to more familiar stoner rock. They are now recording the follow-up to the highly acclaimed ‘Euporie Tide’ album from 2013. http://elparaisorecords.com/artists/causa_sui
CHILD Formed in the rock n roll underground of Melbourne, Australia in 2012, Child take pride in upholding the strong tradition of Australian rock that preceded them with the likes of AC/DC, The Easybeats, Rose Tattoo or Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. Drawing influence from an ever growing sonic palette, you will find Child’s roots tightly entwined in and around the Blues whilst taking a heavier and more visceral approach. https://childtheband.bandcamp.com/
WHEEL OF SMOKE Wheel of Smoke (Leuven, BE) has been dwelling the Belgian underground rock scene with smoking mix of heavy, 70’s tinted rock, blended with a dash of grunge and postrock. They’ve shared the stage with many bands including Baby Woodrose, Hypnos 69, Sungrazer, The Machine, My Sleeping Karma… https://wheelofsmoke.bandcamp.com/
Posted in Reviews on May 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The circumstances by which I found myself in the Tri-State Area were complex enough that I feel no need to recount them, but the point is, if you’re in town anyway, and Ufomammut are rolling through Brooklyn to hit the Saint Vitus Bar on their first US tour ever, supported by Portland’s Usnea and locals Mountain God opening, the obvious choice is to go. Yes, I was at a show in Boston on Sunday, but that seemed like long enough ago that it didn’t matter. It’s fucking Ufomammut. You show up.
I missed the three-piece at Roadburn in 2011, but saw them there in 2009, and even six years later, the impression they left behind was resonant enough that I could see them clearly on the Main Stage bludgeoning the room with their cosmic mastery. The image is vivid. They’ll play Maryland Deathfest this weekend and are out supporting their 2015 Neurot Recordings outing, Ecate (review here), the latest in a line of records a decade long proving their utter supremacy of sound. I felt fortunate to have the planets align in such a way as to allow me to make it to the show.
As I understand it, Mountain God were something of a late addition to the bill. Cool by me. Playing as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Ben Ianuzzi, bassist Nikhil Kamineni and drummer/backing vocalist Ryan Smith (also Thera Roya), they had new material on offer and included two cuts from their 2013 Experimentation on the Unwilling demo (review here), so yeah, sign me up. Their particular brand of atmospheric sludge has only become more visceral over the last couple years, and as expansive as their 2015 single-song Forest of the Lost EP (review here) is, its churn still seems to stir the guts. So it was on stage as well.
Worth noting that for all three bands, the stage was d-a-r-k dark. Most of all for Mountain God and Usnea, but even for Ufomammut the only real light was toward the back of the stage, and there wasn’t much of that. Might as well have been taking pictures in Boston, it was so fucking dark. So it goes. Mountain God‘s new songs, “Nasca Lines” and “Taxidermist,” pushed the limits of their extremity well, Ianuzzi‘s blown-out vocals cutting through his and Kamineni‘s rumbling tonal morass — a heft that would become a theme for the night. The interplay of Ianuzzi and Smith proved especially effective throughout, but either way, ambience remained thick and the effect remained crushing.
They finished out with “Experimentation on the Unwilling” itself, a memorable pummel of a riff at its center, and received greetings and well-earned congratulations at the front of the stage while breaking down their gear to make way for Usnea, touring with Ufomammut from their base of operations in Oregon. It was my first exposure to the death-doom four-piece, who made their debut on Relapse last year with their second full-length, Random Cosmic Violence, and I found they were a completely different band from what I expected them to be. As in, I thought they were another band. It was a pleasant surprise when their ultra-nodding brutality held sway for the duration, both guitars tuned to the key of slow-motion destruction as drums and bass stood center-stage to punctuate and foster feel-it-in-your-stomach resonance. Can’t claim to have known the material, but the first impression was a positive one.
And by positive, I mean overwhelmingly negative — the downer vibes so dense they couldn’t seem to let any light escape. Right on. I knew Ufomammut would be headed for more psychedelic terrain, and indeed they were, so to have Usnea follow Mountain God‘s tectonics with their own lumbering doom was a solid fit and welcome complement to the bill. If I’d had any cash, I probably would’ve picked up a CD of Random Cosmic Violence, but the water bottle I had in my camera bag I bought with quarters and I didn’t think I had that much change on hand. Maybe next time. Their closer was “Detritus,” the 15-minute finisher from their sophomore outing, and it was as vehement an endorsement of their wares as anything I might recount in a review, plodding and stomping en route to a building finish that left nothing else to say when it was done. Many bands would have trouble following it.
Ufomammut, however, are a different breed. I’m almost surprised this was their first US tour. It’s easy to imagine them — as so many of their contemporaries from around Europe did — coming to the States and playing to upwards of 20 people at The Continental in Manhattan a decade ago before any of this stuff caught on and it was suddenly reasonable to be positioned in front of the stage at the Vitus Bar next to a photographer from The New York Times (“Uh, I run a blog,” was my barely-stammered response when she asked who I was shooting for) at a sold-out show. As if the experience wasn’t surreal enough, Ufomammut — guitarist Poia, drummer Vita and bassist/vocalist Urlo arranged left to right — played off a setlist that seemed to be written in code, with notations for synths and the mysterious light-up samplers and effects they had on foot-switches while a video screen projected behind.
Devastatingly heavy? Why yes, they were, but that’s really just one component of the experience. Watching Ufomammut play is like being stirred in a cauldron of something thick and molten. Somehow, it swirls, but on the surface level it doesn’t even seem like it should be able to move at all. Each song seemed to take them deeper into space, the entirety of Ecate rearranged for stage presentation and followed by “Oroboros” from Oro: Opus Alter (review here), “Stigma” from 2008’s Idolum and, finally, “God” from 2004’s Snailking, which was brought to a brutal finish as though the trio were trying to pull apart the remnants of the galaxy on a molecular level, some great cosmic code punched in to result in the end of all things in multi-dimensions. It was like that. Sound as force. Senses colliding, and Urlo headbanging with his entire body the whole time. The further they went the more righteous they became, and the room — sweltering, dark, vibrating — went with them all the while, that great cauldron made flesh. To call it breathtaking would be speaking literally.
There was a moment after they were done that required a return to earth, more of a snap back than a gentle release, and you could feel it from others in the room as much as from yourself. An exhale and realization of the impressionist galaxial scope just witnessed, blurred lines fitting for the summer’s haze that seemed to be settling over the Manhattan skyline on the way into the city. Even having seen the band before, I did it too. People made their way to the bar and out blissfullly stunned, and I did likewise, almost tempted to call Ufomammut‘s arrival on North American shores overdue if they hadn’t rendered things like space and time so irrelevant.
A couple more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.