I will start out by helping you out. It’s pronounced “oofomammoot”. I am not being patronising. This is a moniker I have seen in print many times but never heard said aloud by anyone with any conviction. It means UFO Mammoth. If you have not heard this Italian trio before then their name kinda says it all. The primordial sludge and power of the woolly ancient creature juxtaposed with the intergalactic exploration of a higher intelligence. Psychedelic space sludge packed with riffs as large as that wave in Interstellar and as catchy as space herpes.
Ecate is the bands 7th full length and their third released on Neurot Recordings home of Yob and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth. It comprises of 6 tracks and surprisingly for this band, and the sub-genre they float around, the arrangement offers new listeners a chance to join in the fun. Often when I talk to people about Sludge and Psyche Doom bands friends complain about the track lengths. “One 40 minute track? How am I gonna find time for that?” etc. (Fucking find time – switch off youtube for a while or the gogglebox and immerse yourself). Now I will just hand them Ecate and let the prismic light flood in. The album see’s epic ten minute pieces followed up by shorter, almost single length tracks creating a varied feast of sonic deliciousness.
Opener “Somnium” is a catapult into space from the get go. I am immediately thinking Hawkwind even before the drums begin. Each instrument joins in turn building and building…..then just when I think this is it for the next few minutes a riff breaks through taking the track in a different direction but bringing the bass, drums and sonic synths with it . The vocals when they cut in are so low in the mix, Urlo’s voice becomes another instrument in the maelstrom offering some light in the black. Still the riff powers through. “Plouton” squeals in with a smidgen of feedback before a more rocked out riff opens it up. The vocal is more in your face and the song powers along behind it like a mini juggernaut (it is only 3 minutes long after all)
Ufomammut are not afraid to change direction, sometimes several times in the same song. They do it quite subtly though, like a tanker turning in the ocean. This is no jazz metal collection of twists and turns. Subtle changes piled on top of each other and before you know it your head is nodding to a different beat and your imagination has gone off on its own tangent.
Chaosecret is a space symphony. Listening to it I need to keep reminding myself that it is all one piece. The hypnotic riff has me in it ‘s spell and the tension is built, the sense of foreboding and bleakness rising to suffocating levels, when a change of drum pattern ushers in a new riff just as heavy as the first but this one spiralling in a completely different direction. The riff and vocals remind me, in the latter stages of this track, of Devin Townsend with extra distortion and everything downtuned to Z .
The album is a trip. A journey outside of the norm. One best experienced on headphones or damn loud in a place where no bugger will disturb you for its duration. These boys know when to repeat a refrain and get a groove going and they know when to turn things around and avoid getting stuck in a rut. It is obvious to see why Desertfest have chosen them as main support for Sleep on the Sunday night. I for one, will be down the front with closed eyes and opened ears and mind.
Ecate is a holiday for the senses and one I deserved. I reckon you do too. A contender for album of the year.
(9/10 Matt Mason)