By Gruesome Greg
After releasing the Jerusalem-esque, 45-minute opus Eve a couple years back, Italian psychedelic doomsters Ufomammut have returned with a (somewhat) more conventional album, Oro boasting five tracks ranging from seven to 14 minutes in length. Opener “Empireum,” the longest at 14:15, takes a little while to get going, a lot of reverb and effects with one simple keyboard line that repeats hypnotically for a couple minutes before a slow, marching drum beat begins. When that initial distorted bass line comes in, it isn’t overpowering, rather it rides on the wave built up by the other instruments. Eventually a guitar joins the fray, as they continue on in the same swirling, hypnotic pattern, sorta reminiscent of the kinda stuff that Acid Mothers Temple plays live (as opposed to some of the crazy shit found on their albums), albeit with a bit more bottom end. Finally, we come to a crashing climax roughly five-eighths of the way in, some soaring, chanting vocals above a crescendo of drums and distorted bass… It’s quite the way to kick off this record!
The following song is just about as long, “Aureum” coming in just under 13 minutes. This one wastes no time in bringing the doom, however, as it starts off with a slow, heavy riff, punctuated by scattered drum hits. A sea of FX rolls in as the song starts to take shape, a Sons of OTIS-style slow jam. Things speed up slightly as the reverb-laden vocals come in, just barely overtop the sludge barrage below. Eventually, this track gets stripped down to its bare bones, a snarling distorted riff and pounding drums, over which we get some pretty-much inaudible movie clip or something. But you almost feel that you don’t need to hear the words to get the gist of it, adding to the overall evil ambiance.
The next two tunes are only about half as long as their predecessors, “Infearnatural” offering up a sludgy doom attack that sounds a little like YOB, what with those upper-register vocals and all. This one ends with some trippy keyboards and another movie clip, which is more audible though equally unessential. “Magickon” opens on a lighter note with the same keyboard sounds that ended “Infearnatural,” a seamless transition that moves along at a snail’s pace, transitioning into a creepy piece of instrumental horror doom. Seriously, the more you hear those keys, the more they start reminding you of The Exorcist or something…
On the other hand, the vocals are displayed prominently in closing number “Mindomine,” a percussion-heavy, droning tune that eventually delivers some decent heavy riffage, in somewhat of a Sleep-y vein. Let’s face it, you’re not going to hear a wide variety of different styles on here, but for spaced-out doom done right, it doesn’t get much better.