‘Fenice’, which is Italian for ‘Phoenix’ is a pretty apt title for the band’s new opus at this particular moment in the space /time continuum. It’s been 5 years since their last full length studio album ‘8’ and they even went on a, fortunately for us, short hiatus around two years ago. This has resulted for the first time in their two decade spanning career in a lineup switch as well in which they had to replace the drummer of their triumvirate.
So what has changed with the universe after that period. Does the band pick up right where they had exited hyperspace or are they in a whole other segment of the multiverse altogether?
As anyone who’s had the privilege to witness them on stage can attest to, the best way to experience that sheer gravity of their sound is in close orbit on stage. They tried to recreate that feeling in the studio now by recording the album essentially live. There are 6 tracks on ‘Phoenix’ of which ‘Psychostasia’ and ‘Pyramind’ had already been teased to us earlier. These two are fairly representative of the album as a whole, each highlighting in a more pronounced manner a different side of the band. In any case Ufomammut is never a band to be experienced just through one or two songs, you need to sit out the full interstellar journey in order to really appreciate them to the fullest.
The album starts out on ‘Duat’ with a throbbing heartbeat and heart monitor, as if the band is literally resurrecting the band from its ashes. The beats intensify up to an industrial drone on par with Author and Punisher after which the track launches itself into familiar outer space only to get locked on a collision course with a massive neutron star.
Following up from the longest track on the record comes ‘Kepherer’, a short interlude out there alone in the vast void between the stars that builds up to ‘Psychostasia’. In space no one can hear you scream and it’s actually not until now that any vocals kick in. As usual they’re floating a bit in the background, but they’re significantly clearer in the mix than we’ve been used to with the band. This track has a bit of an old school new wave feel in the guitars, as if the satellite receiver picked up a radio transmission from an eighties goth band until halfway through it lets loose in full tripping fashion.
It’s remarkable how balanced and restrained these 6 songs actually are as whole. ‘Metamorphoenix’ dials back the insanity significantly after the psych-out at the end of the previous track. It’s almost ambient in nature, Ufomammut style still, of course. Long drawn-out space sounds slowly morph into a single mantra like riff that will keep reverberating inside your head as it gains in intensity. An intensity that sets you up for ‘Pyramind’, which is no doubt the heaviest track on the record. Not even light will be able to escape from this colossus of doom. Can’t wait to hear this one live. ‘Empyros’ closes the album, not in a silent whimper, but with one final, short burst of their ion engines.
Ufomammut will be joining the Dunk!festival towards the end of May in Ghent, so be sure to check them out there as they’re bound to shake the very foundations of the Vooruit, if not of the cosmos itself.
- Music / Songwriting 9/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 7/10
- Mix / Production 9/10
- Artwork & Packaging 9/10
- Originality 9/10
Rising like a phoenix after 5 years, Ufomammut are again at the zenith of their cosmic doom.