Ufomammut - 8 album review
Italy’s astral doom trio go beyond all bounds
The celestial pulse of Hawkwind and Pink Floyd, quickened by the circular, rhythmic thrust of Can and Neu!, have, for almost two decades, sent Ufomammut’s Sabbathian riffage straight towards the cosmos. Their latest odyssey, titled 8 but metaphorically aligned to the infinity symbol, is presented as an ouroboric form, its eight songs acting in singular force – much like 2010’s meditation on the origins of humankind, Eve. Recorded live with overdubs for mantric vocals, synths and minor embellishments, Ufomammut have never come as close to capturing their stentorian live sound in the studio as they have here. Time and space are warped through the massive reverberations of opener Babel, as its need for velocity eventually consumes its contemplative passages. Zodiac’s gnashing riffs also benefit from the magickal live energy. However, it’s the titanic tandem of Fatum and Prismaze, both replete with Sleep-bong-huffing-with-Helmet syncopations, which hit the hardest. This leads to the nightmarish pummel of Core, where tension is wielded like a weapon by musicians who are naturally attuned to different sonic and spiritual frequencies than most. Evidently, Ufomammut’s shamanistic understanding of groove and tonality continues to improve with each passing album. As 8 assimilates, another interesting revelation is how the Italian trio occasionally allow you to melt into a mesmeric groove aided by astral electronics only for them to swiftly change direction with startling momentum. This is best exemplified by the mid-point jolt of closer Psyrcle, one of the more disorientating and heady tracks of their lengthy history. Such subtle sleights of hand, together with immersivesongwriting, will keep you fixated and maintain Ufomammut’s standing as leading figures for unearthing metaphysical pathways through the tranformative power of psychedelic doom.