Ufomammut - 8 01Stoner doom seems such an easy genre to play. Write every kickass riff you can think of, play them slow and heavy, and you’re most of the way there. Yet many struggle with the cyclopean task of keeping their bundle of riffs interesting for 45 (or 75) minutes. Ufomammut is not one of them, however. Their gargantuan space-doom, less dense than Yob but with more gravity than Electric Wizard, has slowly but surely clawed its way to the pinnacle of the subgenre, culminating in the highly regarded Ecate two years ago. Now the mammoths from space are unleashing their cosmic stomp on the world once again with 8. Can they maintain their place at the top of the mountain?

Short answer: yes. Long answer: hell, yes. 8 is a massive and expertly crafted grinding stone, a pounding and hypnotizing journey through cosmic atmospheres that crushes with the force of a black hole but doesn’t relinquish groove in the process. When lesser peers in the genre trip up, the causes are nearly universal: an over-reliance on repetition with riffs that don’t stand up to such overuse. Ufomammut avoid such pitfalls with graceful songwriting that lets the music breathe. Instead of non-stop grinding and crushing, heaviness is regularly traded for spaced-out synthesizer trips or screeching, feedback-laden solos, with the vocals occupying a seat in the back, a drowning man shouting his last words at the sky from an ocean away. When the band means to crush, they take it literally, making full use of a bulldozing downtuned guitar filled with deliciously filthy distortion.

There are few flaws to the album, and most will come down to personal taste. The occasional riff or pattern will feel over-repeated, like the shamanic vocal patterns during the last few minutes of closer “Psyrcle,” or the cyclical drums on the tail of “Zodiac,” and the way the songs are strung together makes the flow of the album a bit difficult to discern. But personally, I like the way 8 sweeps you up and doesn’t put you down for over half the album (the first song with a discernible ending is “Core.”) The weaker moments, on the other hand, to me resemble merely breaths before the storms of furious rhinos the songs unleash on a regular basis, like the spazzing-out of “Prismaze” and the industrial urgency of “Core.”

Ufomammut - 8 02

One of the biggest issues facing most doom, stoner, and sludge is the production. Loudness does not equal heaviness, but in search of that massive wall of music, many find themselves bricked to hell and back, blowing up eardrums and causing more fatigue than a masturbation marathon1. Fear not! Ufomammut is turning the tide with an excellent production. It’s both heavy and dynamic, and allows (nay, demands!) for 8 to be spun at high volume. This is perfect evidence of how a loud master means you have to turn the music down and vice versa. The various instruments are separated and layered expertly, and even when a lot is going on at the same time (like the early solo on “Zodiac,” where bass, rhythm, and guitar do battle with the drums and shimmering keyboards), it never sounds like a mess or like anything gets lost, a special achievement considering it was recorded live in the studio. The conscious decision to keep the vocals relatively low in the mix might seem controversial for Mammut-newbies like me initially, but it was no different on Ecate and it fits their pulverizing style.

8 is a complete victory for Ufomammut. I was fairly new to the band, but it didn’t take long for the record to win me over. It avoids everything I fear when I pick up a stoner-doom album, yet embodies an archetype for the genre: heavy, crunching riffs, hypnotic patterns, bursts of galloping steamrollers, undulating keyboards and wavering vocals. The massive guitar sound and excellent production are the pitch black icing on the cosmic cake. This will go down as one of the major doom releases of the year, and deservedly so. Get on this, and when you do, promise me one thing: play it fucking loud!

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Neurot Recordings
Websites: ufomammut.bandcamp.com | ufomammut.com | facebook.com/ufomammutband
Releases Worldwide: September 22nd, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. 2 week ban from the AMG break room. – Steel
Tagged with →  
Share →
  • Eli Valcik

    The vinyl looks super badass

    • sir_c

      With this kind of bass, I suspect you can even read the grooves bare-eyed

    • Dymanic

      That’s great, but how does it sound?

  • hallowed

    These are the riffs I’ve been looking for.

  • wayne the devil

    Easily one of my favorite groups. One of the few I have been stalking for around half a year, waiting and wishing. Cant wait. Great review…

    • Eli Valcik

      Yeah, these guys are great. I’ve been hearing about a new Rimfrost album kinda soon, and I’m excited as fuck for the new Midnight album. Those are the two bands I’m stalking at the moment.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Luckily, Bandcamp only lists like fifteen bands who call themselves “Midnight.” Can you be more specific?

        • Eli Valcik

          yeah, they got the albums No Mercy for Mayhem and Satanic Royalty. Their newest isn’t announced on bandcamp but it’s called Sweet Death and Ecstasy.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    More delicious doomy doom ness to add to my recent platter of doominess.
    See you in April.

  • Dethjesta

    Sounds great but is it better than Dvne? Which is my top stoner release of the year so far, albeit it’s more towards the proggy side than the doomy side.

    • GardensTale

      Thanks for the recommend, I’ll check them out!

    • Damn, Dvne is killer! This is why I always read the comments, thanks Dethjesta. I may enjoy this more than Forming the Void for my top stoner release thus far.

    • Excentric_13073

      I’ve never heard of Dvne other than Frank Herbert’s version, but this is pretty killer! Hooked by the first track.

    • GardensTale

      Listening to “Thirst” and holy shit this is good!

      • Dethjesta

        You should thank Akerblogger, he recomended them to me. It’s a really great album for sure. Been a good year for stoner metal all-in-all.

    • sir_c

      That is some decent stuff!

  • Metrognome26

    I can’t wait to get this on Friday. Ecate blew my mind apart, and I look forward to this just fucking up the debris of what’s left even more.

    • Metrognome26

      Yup… Now that I’ve heard it, I can safely say that 8 is a fantastic album. If they weren’t a must-see at MDF for me before, they certainly are now.

  • ssorg

    High on Fire always leave me disappointed, but when I think of what they *should* sound like, it’s not far off from this. Headbang city, here I come

    • Strapping Old Fart

      I weep for your loss.

    • I believe GT talked about High on Fire in that production paragraph of his if I’m not mistaken.

      • GardensTale

        They’re among the prime examples of what NOT to do, that’s for sure.

        • Bystander

          No, it really isn’t for sure.

          • GardensTale

            Well obviously I mean in context of production…

          • Strapping Old Fart

            Ah, in that case we can all be friends again!

  • AgonMcDuck

    Holy shit, did not realize there was gonna be new Ufomammut! Between this, Chelsea Wolfe, and new GY!BE this month is finally beginning to stop sucking.

    Though money. I just had to buy a new set of headphones too why huhuhu

    • Baltech

      Don’t forget the new Monlord looming. September ends with a crush!

      • AgonMcDuck

        I just heard one single and it kills. This might take the edge off my ultimate (slight) disappointment with the latest Pallbearer (which was very good, mind, but not as earth-shaking as Foundations of Burden).

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Guitar tone is pushed to the max.
    Reminds me of With The Dead.
    The old black and orange Boss Heavy Metal pedal dialed right up to 11.
    Amazingly there’s still head space for the other instruments to sit nicely.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Hey… u want sum fuzz?

    • Cherd

      Mom told me not to take fuzz from strange griffins.

      • Nukenado

        Your mom obviously wasn’t Echidna.

      • [not a Dr]

        That word summons Brutalist_receptacle

  • The Unicorn

    Yeah, this is some serious shite. I liked the prior release a lot, but this one- damn. Nice review!! http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f5e08b1510cff7d4f355c04eebd3e429787dbb09c27d8db0634622d0019151c6.jpg

  • Cherd

    These riffs are all in Italian. How am I supposed to listen to this? But seriously, REALLY excited for this. Great review.

  • This may in fact make THE list. GT, well done sir!

    • GardensTale

      Thanks, Alex! They deserve it if they make the list, you rarely hear something so heavy yet so dynamic.

  • Strapping Old Fart

    Only the long answer provides the context necessary for real understanding. Great review!

  • Bas

    I still listen to godlike snake regularly. This new stuff is also great! Love the sound!

  • Gtheperson

    Excited to hear this! Ufomammut have been one of my favourites for a while. But strangely Ecate was a disappointment for me. I’ve been a fan since Idolum and whatever it was that makes an Ufomammut album more than just a collection of riffs and into something special was missing off that one. Eve or Deityrant are peak Ufomammut for me.

  • Septic

    Apparently Desert Scene Batman from BvS crashed the original Ufomammut photograph. http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/177c4bcd919d2c5511c96df6d9788b8f2c3779140fa6a98c4f7e0f5030fd53e5.jpg

    • Terminate

      I knew Desert Scene Batman was a bastard…

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    There’s a stream up on Team Rock this is a cool album. Nice review Gardens Tale.

  • Baltech

    I friggin love this band! Glad that they don’t seem to fall pray to the law of diminishing records yet. Also, seen them live, it’s damn near a Sexualität experience.

  • herrschobel

    yeah ! just yeah ! Ufomammut are among the best in this ‘genre’ … see them live whenever you can. They will hammer your flesh into the ground while shooting your soul into space… great band !

  • Fabio Danieli

    Loving this band… only carpet bomb listen to this atm…
    Waiting the new Kadavar due 9/29, hoping better than Berlin!

  • Fabio Danieli

    I confirm: riff is in italian… this time im winning! :-)

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Is it OK if I hear your comment in my mind spoken with a thick Italian accent?

      • Fabio Danieli

        Venetian accent!
        Wow this album breaks me… is on par with Goya atm for year end shootout.

  • Nukenado

    Maybe it’s because this is meant to be consumed as a whole, but I can’t get through either the embedded track nor the album. I can’t finish “Babel”.
    I’m kind of like an anti-AMG in a sense, as I actively seek out emotion in my music. Here, I hear the riffs, I hear the keyboards, but they don’t really do anything for me.
    Maybe I need to be more immersed, but this is a no for me.