Psyche doom titans Ufomammut push even deeper into space on carefully monikered journey ‘8’

I rarely ever think about numbers. I’m a word person, as that’s probably easy to figure out since this is a blog, and even when I went into college, I did as much as I could to avoid having to work with numbers. I’m just not wired that way, for some reason.

That said, when getting into “8,” the new record from Italian doom dreamers Ufomammut, I had to change that a little bit. Poring through the bio materials helped, as the band took great interest in the digit for some pretty obvious reasons. First, “8” is the band’s eighth full-length effort, and the music contained on these …you guessed it … eight tracks all stick together like a creature joined from mouth to tail. Titling the 8 on its side, you have the symbol for infinity, and this record operates in much the same way as that sign. It also took me about eight minutes to write what you have so far, so let’s just get into the music. As usual, the band—bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Urlo, guitarist/keyboardist Poia, drummer Vita—creates a psychedelic vortex dressed in stoner vibe and deep doom thinking. Their music is great for gazing into the distance and doing some heavy thinking or, the opposite, putting your racing mind to rest. The music is a solid next turn from the band based on what they produced on 2015’s “Ectate,” and this spacey adventure will penetrate your dreams.

“Babel” starts the story with noise boiling as the band begins to rumble into space. Washed-out singing joins the mold, as the track reverberates, and a voice speaks out from underneath the waves. The band achieves a heavy Pink Floyd vibe, though that folds into industrial planetary chaos. “Warsheep” lets melodies turn on themselves, as robotic singing and a trance atmosphere makes heads spin. The pace gets trudging and machine-like, while heavy keys entrance, and the power switch gets turned on higher. The brain is mauled heavily, while wild cries join as the back end is blown to bits. “Zodiac” is the longest song, spreading over 9:24 and starting with yowled words and heavy drubbing. As we drive back toward the start, the bass lumbers and leaves bruising, while the guitars blaze, and noise spirals through the whole thing. Sounds hang in the air, as a level of calm is introduced, but that’s temporary. Out of that, a riff picks up steam, loops forever, and keeps increasing in volume and aggression as the song grinds to a finish. “Fatum” immediately lands doom gut punches, while watery singing swims, and a dark psyche cloud hovers overhead. The track aims to knock out teeth, hitting and clubbing its way through.

“Prismaze” bleeds out of the other end, as static-filled thrashing and mind-altering singing deliver the messages. The song gets burlier and meatier in its second half, as the guitars take on a new thickness, and noise zaps into the universe and right into “Core.” There, the initial serenity is torn apart by crazed cries and a rhythmic tempo that is impossible to shake. Soloing catches fire and let’s off thick, poisonous smoke, while the noise lathers every physical object in its path and leaves your synapses tingling. “Wombdemonium,” the shortest of the set at 3:02, trudges into weird, scary terrain, as the vocals sound delivered by mental transmissions, and that strangeness pulls us toward the final chapter “Psyrcle.” Organs unload and give off a witchy feel, while a calculated pace feeds into the thought that you may be doomed. A female voice joins and slips right underneath the entire structure, while the guitars spiral off, and a bizarre synth fog is achieved. As we keep spinning into space, the female voice returns more prominently, putting a dream-like glaze over the song’s final moments.

Ufomammut are one of the most adventurous bands in all heavy music, something they prove again on “8.” For a record playing heavy games with numbers, it doesn’t try to get too smart on you and, instead, lets you slip into the folds of their music and see stars. At the end of nearly two decades together, this band’s creative juices remain bubbling and flowing.

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