Ufomammut – Ecate (Neurot Recordings, 31 March 2015)
Ufomammut – 8 (Neurot Recordings, 22 September 2017)
The name Ufomammut seems to be one that we Americans tend to struggle with. But fortunately the band has been kind enough to explain its origin: “ufo” (OOH-foe) is the Italian word for “UFO,” while “mammut” (MAMM-utt) means “mammoth.” Therefore the correct pronunciation of the name would be “OOH-foe-MAMM-utt.” Got it?
The etymological origin of their name is also one of the most accurate descriptions a band has ever given itself, as this trio combine the mysterious spaced-out vibe of a flying saucer with the earth-shaking immensity of a prehistoric pachydermic behemoth.
And now, for the first time in two years, they are bringing this spectacle to North American soil: hitting Maryland Death Fest this weekend, as well as Northwest Terror Fest in early June, and then surrounding these dates with a month-long loop around the whole country that kicks off TONIGHT (Wednesday the 23rd) in Providence. Of course we’ll supply you with details about all these shows later. But first, an introduction to the band’s music for the uninitiated …
Ufomammut truly has not put out a single bad or disappointing album — one could easily start anywhere in their catalog and be delighted. But for the sake of convenience, we’ll focus on their two most recent offerings: Ecate and 8, which ranked among our favorite albums of 2015 and 2017 respectively.
First, Ecate — six tracks, three-quarters of an hour of wildly psychedelic, soul-crushing doom. From the start (the introduction to opening track “Somnium”) there is a plethora of old-school synth sounds: oscillating chirps and beeps, bassy drones, an air-raid-like distorted sawsoothed wave, and plenty of other analog goodies for your ears. This quickly gets completely buried by an overwhelming array of enormously heavy riffs. (Although fear not: various synths continually reappear randomly, including during the bulk of ambient interlude track “Revelation.”)
Throughout the remainder of the album, each of these lengthy voyages takes the listener from the deepest inner recesses to the furthest reaches of outer space, and everywhere in between. Loads of static and noise (and far-off, half-awake/half-dreaming vocals) further obfuscate any feeling of clarity or coherence one might have risked accidentally gleaning here, especially in the heavy-as-hell closing track “Daemons” (at least until the final minute or so where it resolves with an almost celestial-sounding purity).
As a fascinating bonus, around the time of the album’s release, the band put out a series of behind-the-scenes videos showing each step of the production process — from each instrumenal layer through the final artwork. For extra insight into the inner workings of this creative collective, these are truly worth spending time watching!
Moving right along, last year’s 8 is not only the trio’s eighth full-length record, but it contains exactly eight tracks. (Despite the additional two tracks beyond the 2015 album, the overall length is almost the same, perhaps a minute or so longer.) Picking up right where its predecessor left off, “Babel” is a blend of fuzzy riffs and tintinnabulating synth noises every bit as chaotic and confusing as the biblical tower for which it was named.
In fact, many of these titles seem to appropriately represent the sounds you’ll hear: the otherworldy nature of “Zodiac,” the aggressiveness of “Warsheep,” the throbbing and pulsating primality of “Core,” the thick and chunky riffs and rhythms of “Fatum”… Ok, ok, that last one actually translates from Latin as either “bad fortune,” “doom,” or “weird” — but you get the idea, right? And finally, “Psyrcle” which finishes things off with a maddening swirl of psychedelic and psychotic noise spiralling around and around.
* * * * * * *
Ufomammut North American Tour 2018 (with White Hills)
5/23/2018 Alchemy – Providence RI
5/24/2018 Ram’s Head Live – Baltimore MD @ Maryland Death Fest
5/25/2018 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn NY
5/26/2018 Cattivo – Pittsburgh PA
5/27/2018 Reggies – Chicago IL
5/29/2018 Lookout Lounge – Omaha NE
5/30/2018 Hi-Dive – Denver CO
6/01/2018 Neurolux – Boise ID
6/02/2018 Barboza – Seattle WA @ Northwest Terror Fest
6/03/2018 Mississippi Studios – Portland OR w/ Usnea
6/05/2018 Elbo Room – San Francisco CA
6/06/2018 Catalyst – Santa Cruz CA
6/07/2018 Hi-Hat – Los Angeles CA
6/08/2018 Club Red – Phoenix AZ
6/09/2018 Sister – Albuquerque NM
6/11/2018 The Lost Well – Austin TX
6/13/2018 Growlers – Memphis TN
6/14/2018 Pilot Light – Knoxville TN
6/15/2018 529 – Atlanta GA
6/16/2018 Kings – Raleigh NC
6/18/2018 Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia PA
6/21/2018 Sled Island Festival – Calgary AB