REVIEW: UFOMAMMUT – “8”
Ufomammut’s charm has always been their psychedelic palette accentuating the stiffness of stoner doom in general, making them stand out amongst all the sleep-inducing (no pun intended) bands in the genre. The beauty of ‘Eve’ was hypnotizing the listener to view the album with a psychedelic approach rather than a stoner doom one. These aspects convert the meandering and directionless nature of stoner doom into a transcendent and drift-like effect. Ufomammut’s eighth full length, rightfully named ‘8’, doesn’t fall away from this point and exhibit the band’s strengths to satisfaction.
‘8’ features eight tracks none which cross the ten-minute mark, which is a rarity on this side of music. This also means that the band has more room to play around with when it comes to ideas and atmosphere. The psychedelic seduction continuously hovers over the thick guitar sound that we are accustomed to from Ufomammut. Such immaculate is the interplay between the kaleidoscopic keyboard work and the riffs that there are sections where you question yourself whether you really are hearing things or it was actually being played in there. Space rock influences are seen on every track to a varying degree.
The trajectory of the album begins with the different facets of the band being sampled to taste, and then it gets progressively dissociative. For example, “Babel” and “Warsheep” display slow cautious treading on unknown landscapes with electronics and heavy doom riffs mindfully nudging the listener. By the time the album reaches “Prismaze”, the vague boundaries slowly start to melt. Everything from here is like a fever dream but in a good way. Progressive electro-noise and rapid tempo changes make the last 20 or so minutes of this album a treat. The final track “Psyrcle” is probably my favourite track of the album. The mind-bending and spatial keyboards steal the show here again and it has the effect of time-trap as the repetitive Carnatic lick punctuates the track throughout. The drumming is very engaging here, as it is throughout the album as well.
Ufomammut’s ‘8’ does not require psychedelia to enhance the listening experience because the music does the job. But hey, if it works better for you, go ahead. Fans of the band and the genre would eat this up without a doubt. The first half of the album is not as engaging as the second, so even if you start wandering around in your head, you need to push along until you reach the parts where the album kicks off into another zone. This of course only comes from a slight bias against purely stoner doom, but if you enjoy it, you will enjoy the first half of the album as well.