Scouse doom trio Conan refer to their music as “caveman doom”, and if we’re to consider that accurate, then the music of Italian three-piece Ufomammut should surely be known as “spaceman doom” – a style unique to them that proves that prog and intense metal can go hand-in-hand without one compromising the other. 8 is the group’s, you guessed it, eighth album and continues this trend to no end, at times reaching suffocating levels of heaviness whilst retaining a penchant for interplanetary sonics.
There are, in most places, two sides to Ufomammut’s sound, namely the sometimes nausea-inducing levels of proggy psychedelia and the thunderous doom metal. Rather than tagging each other in when they see fit, though, these two sides collide together to form a sound so colossal it almost sounds like it isn’t meant for human consumption. Spacey synths add a layer of sci-fi wonder to weighty riffs that would otherwise be grounded very much in Earth’s gritty soil, and robotic vocals aid in strengthening the hypnotic power of the band’s swirling, churning instrumentation.
Despite such a grand and encompassing sound, 8 is also perhaps Ufomammut’s most succinct release to date, the group’s first in over a decade without a single song reaching the ten-minute mark. That’s not to say Ufomammut’s galactic expanses have been honed in, on the contrary, 8 leaves little room for restraint in any department, and ends up being remarkably heavy as a result. Furthermore, tracks often either blend together seamlessly or introduce themselves with a quick and dramatic change of pace, making 8 work much better as a singular, enveloping piece of music.
It will come as no surprise to long-time fans of Ufomammut that their perennial mastery of the genre continues on 8. Throughout, the band’s potent and surreal heaviness transcends any imagined restrictions on the doom subgenre, as they continue to provide an original and unparalleled form of enchanting and psyched-out metal.
8 is out September 22nd via Neurot Recordings. Pre-order here.
Words: George Parr