PICK OF THE WEEK: Ufomammut soar through new galaxies on molten seventh record ‘Ecate’

UfomammutI am sort of transfixed with the idea of space travel. It’s not something I’d necessarily ever want to do voluntarily–regular air travel bothers me as much as it is. But the concept of soaring through the stars to other worlds and past strange worlds is an amazing concept to me.

Because of the above acceptance that I’ll never soar through space, I need to find music that makes me feel like I’m floating amongst alien worlds. One go-to band for me every time is Italian doom experimentalists Ufomammut. Nearly impossible to truly classify (despite my best stab at descriptors), these guys have been making mind-altering, cosmic chaos for years now. You can’t really put a finger on what they do and be totally right. Yes, they’re heavy. Awfully heavy at times, and when they are, it feels like worlds are exploding. They can induce dream states, so much so that when I’m listening to their music in a non-critical situation, it’s easy for me to float away. They’re also daring, never remaining loyal to one path, sound, or way, making each one of their studio records (as well as their live shows) unique beings.

Ufomammut coverThe band is back with their mesmerizing seventh record “Ecate,” the follow-up to 2012’s dual, yet separately released records “Oro: Opus Primum” and “Oro: Opus Alter.” Once again the three musical chemists—bassist/synth player/special effect/vocalist Urlo, guitarist/synth player/special effects Poia, drummer Vita—blaze new trails across the sky and leave you enthralled. The title is based on the three-sided goddess that travels among the living and dead realms, representing the past, present, and, future, and often acts as either a positive and negative omen to travelers. They pay homage through thunderous, always captivating compositions only they could create and perform, and once again, they’ve come up with something utterly masterful.

“Somnium” launches the ship, running 9:55 and opening with static haze, synth that spreads and thickens, and rumbling that slowly emerges. Later, the top gets ripped off as the volume spikes, with the band pounding away at you, eventually giving way to some calm. Things start to boil again, as the music rises up, detached singing colors the background, and the whole thing heads toward a bottomless mudpit that swallows you whole and finally spits you out at the end. “Plouton” is one of the shortest, most direct songs in the band’s entire catalog, lasting just 3:08 and acting as a corrosive, punishing assault. The guitars are as loud as they seemingly can go, with the vocals more forceful and drenched in echoes and the rest of the band dealing out fuzzy, mashing punishment. Quite the change of pace for these guys. Then it’s into “Chaosecret,” the album’s longest track at 10:47. The whole thing starts like a cosmic soup, with things bubbling slowly, the murk gently making its way overhead, and strange chants emanating, putting you on the brink of hypnosis. It continues into what feels like a fever dream, with the music causing you to see strange visions before the volcano erupts and their force grows greater. The vocals decimate, as the pace starts trucking hard, and more brain numbing playing takes the track to its rightful conclusion.

“Temple” tears apart right from the start, with mucky and heavy pounding, the band hulking in the most beastly of fashion, and more vocals that sound like chants reaching out to other worlds. Fog rolls in and chokes out the surroundings, settling and letting things burn only to have everything break apart again. But then, the guys put on their most vile face, launching into an outright violent section, unleashing absolute fury and letting everything burn in hell-like blazes. The band trudges ahead and keeps up the pace until the intensity is allowed to fade. “Revelation” is a shorter, mostly ambient cut that acts much like a bridge to the conclusion. The song swirls in psychedelic gases, floating and zapping overhead, delivering occasional static shocks. The 10:30 closer “Daemons” starts off harshly enough, with riffs that cut like barbed wire and vocals that are pretty monstrous. There’s a hazy period where voice samples weave through the mire, leading right into the next thashy section, with more gruff singing blowing in, all of the elements piling on top of each other, and a collection of organs, chimes, and synth forming a poisonous cloud. The song, and this journey itself, ends in a field of sci-fi-minded synth, chilling your body and soul and returning you from your journey into the stars.

Ufomammut’s reputation already was stellar before the arrival of “Ecate,” but these six songs just push their status further into the stratosphere. They’ve managed to keep making riveting, challenging, devastating music while maintaining their sense of weirdness and organic adventure. There’s not another band on the planet quite like Ufomammut, another quality that makes these guys so damn special.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.ufomammut.com/

To buy the album, go here: http://neurotrecordings.merchtable.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.neurotrecordings.com/