by Freq | 2018-03-04T11:19:55+00:000000005531201803 11:19
So. Ufomammut‘s 8. That’s not the same as New Model Army‘s Eight, though both are the eighth albums by their respective artists. This is 8 as in ∞ turned on its side. Eight seamless tracks of endless riffs — sounds about right.And it really does. Sound right, that is. Although generally considered a doom band, doom itself has become so vast and nebulous (now THAT sounds like a Jack Kirby line) that it doesn’t really help in nailing Ufomammut down at this point. Imagine trying to harpoon a cloud. Not gonna happen.
But my job is to try, so try I shall. Following the basic law of physics about heavy things moving slowly (more just a guideline, really, as anyone who’s been on a plane will attest), 8 is a fairly measured affair, tempo-wise. But don’t let that fool you. It has the same implacable intensity of a Swans or a Neurosis, or even an Om, if the mantric bass patterns are anything to go by. So far, so doom. But it’s a lot more stoner than doom, if you ask me. Indeed, it’s pretty much spacerock at various points; chiefly the Hawkwind-esque shouting into the void vocals and synth whooshes. And of course there are moments (well, “passages”, really — not much that happens on this album happens briefly) of coruscating distortion and face-melting guitar. As there should be.At times I can’t figure out whether it’s the sound of a submarine in deep space, or the sound of a spaceship in the deepest ocean. Either way it’s the sound of something massive exploring something vast. And mining it for its resources, which in this case are riffs. Huge, bone-crushing riffs that go on forever. Think the spacier bits of Tool‘s Lateralus, take out the more traditionally Tooly bits, and chuck in several billion gallons of salt water, and you might almost be able to figure out what it sounds like without listening. Not that you’d want to do that, really. Ufomammut are at their (oh, OK then) doomiest, spaciest and heaviest on 8, and it’s a trip. They hail from Italy, but one can only presume they have a very long commute to work, because like Kirk says in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, they “work in space”. Or maybe under the sea. Like the whales in Star Trek IV.
8 is the sound of psychedelia carved into rock. With the weight of a mastodon (or even a Mastodon), it’s like an enormous stone mammoth crushing everything beneath its gigantic but adorable feet. And if you were a stone mammoth and had to try not to collapse under your own mass, you’d probably want to live in space too, wouldn’t you? Or possibly under the sea.
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