It is astonishing that it’s only recently have I been turned on to this album or this band. Hailing from Tortona, Italy, UFOMAMMUT play such an expansive, mesmerizing brand of Post/Doom Sludge Metal it is exactly the kind of music I look for outside of the fierce fare my ears normally seek. While mainly entrenched in these genres, “Eve” must also be described as a swirling incursion into experimental and avant-garde music, as those expecting an ISIS or INTRONAUT type of basic flow between light and dark will be taken aback by the musical minimalism throughout much of this record. In that sense it plays more like MINSK than most others in their genus of Metal.
Truly just one long track cut into five pieces, “Eve” is a monster like few others I have heard in recent memory. While certainly plying their trade with the likes of ISIS etc, these cats are out there, crushing with such viciousness but then not just slowing things down but creating a rich, dark landscape of sounds and words that border on the non-musical. Again, this does invoke memories of “The Ritual Fires Of Abandonment”, but here UFOMAMMUT take it a step beyond and challenge the listener with moments of eerie serenity and almost frightening caverns of calm. Do not mistake this for Drone as some have, the song structure here shifts and flows, unlike the unendurable banality the likes of SUNN O))) play. No, this may be challenging, but it is worthwhile and engaging.
Heavy on guitar and vocal effects, these are used during “Eve” not to buffer the band’s sound like synths do in many symphonic or melodic albums, but are used in and of themselves to create their own arresting atmosphere and melancholic tone. While perhaps not sounding like Metal, trust me these passages are as heavy in their own way as when the trio seem to collapse the sky around your head with sledgehammer like power. Unlike much of the flow in other Post-Metal albums, the crescendo after meandering moments doesn’t feel like the destination; those rhythmic, churning and experimental moments feel just as important a point as when “Eve” rises to throttle you. You’re as anxious to hear the next wistful detour as you are the whipping ferocity that undoubtedly will proceed and follow.
Vocally you get odd restrained screams, mellow chants and sparse spoken moments that all fit UFOMAMMUT’s intoxicating panorama. It feels like a cop-out to claim any album is almost indescribable, generally due to the inability to peg down a genre, but “Eve” is such a unique endeavour it does honestly evoke such a response. This is an album to be fully experienced as opposed to discussed. As useful to drift of in to sleep to as to have you banging your fist, “Eve” almost deserves its own category when compiling the top albums of the year; not better or worse, just so unique. For that reason alone it will be near my tops of 2010, but that and so, so much more.
(Online December 30, 2010)