“Ufomammut are gonna make a big splash with this album.”
Seems like I’ve been saying that since 2004, when I first heard Snailking. But for whatever reason, these Italians still seem to be flying under the radar of most doom fans. Maybe it’s their peculiar moniker or the fact that you may have to search a bit to find their releases. But really, there’s no good reason that the doom faithful would miss out on a band capable of chest rattling riffery worthy of Electric Wizard, the hypnotic incantations of Om, and ensnaring ambient intensity of Neurosis and Isis. Of course, Ufomammut don’t actually sound like any of these bands. They don’t actually sound like ANY band. But the trio have honed their attack, forging their own lethal brand of psychedelic doom, and Eve may well be their finest hour.
This five-part composition is supposedly an homage to the Bible’s first woman, “and the rebellion to her creator for bringing knowledge to mankind.” The song’s five movements are constructed to allow the mood and tones to cycle through stages of droning repetition to escalation to crescendo. Now, I know that that is neither unique nor necessarily interesting, but what IS unusual and works so well here is how effectively Ufomammut are able to amplify the effects of the heaviest sections just by the material’s contrast through trajectory. The band takes their sweet time getting there, mind you. They’re prone to lull you with extended psychedelic ambient and sometimes nearly tribal “intros,” that at first listen may come off as overblown. But just when you suspect that Ufomammut may simply be too stoned to care, they push the needle in and shift into jarring heft, building not only to release, but often breaking past that into a cathartic mania. The first two tracks follow the same patterns, except the second time around they up the intensity in the aggresive portion of the song. But when they move into the third and fourth tracks, which are heavy from the start, they maintain the same riff theme but shift into such unabashedly crushing, mountains marching riffs, that it feels like they were holding back a sixth gear secret weapon you didn’t know about. It’s hard to adequately describe, but it’s a musical sleight of hand where the whole exceeds the sum of its parts simply because of how they’re unveiled.
It’s only after sitting through the whole album back to front a handful of times that it really sinks in how well Ufomammut have constructed this beast. At that point any impatience or reservations you might have had will melt away, leaving only admiration at the least, and more likely a genuine awe. What felt like lulls in intensity come to be understood as integral to the whole. Ufomammut have managed a 45-minute album consisting of a single song, and very few vocals (and mostly in the form of indistinct echoing roars), and yet is still able to captivate and continue to reveal its charms with multiple listens. This is likely to be a true grower over the years. It’s an album that’s easy to underestimate, but criminal to miss if you’re any kind of fan of doom.