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Ufomammut – Fenice

Ufomammut
Fenice
by Gary Hernandez at 22 May 2022, 6:47 PM

There are a lot of ways to measure the passing of time—years, number of albums recording. For UFOMAMMUT that would be 23 years and 15 recordings, including demo, live, studio, and collaborations. You’d think that by this point a band with this track record would be looking to just sit down and chill. Not so for Italian Psyche Doom trio, UFOMAMMUT. On May 6, 2022 the band released their ninth full-length album, “Fenice,” via Neurot Recordings. The album introduces a new drummer, Levre, and, as the band notes, “marks a new chapter in \[their] history.” The album is named Fenice (trans: Phoenix) as it signifies a rebirth for the band.

While “Fenice” isn’t a radical departure from the band’s signature sound, it does offer some interesting variations on a theme. This is notable right from the beginning with 10-minute opening track, “Duat.” “Duat” kicks off the album with a sci-fi soundscape that plays like something from a Poul Anderson novel. Maybe “Tau Zero.” You know, deep space, cold infinity, impossible technology, bendable time. The track is broken up into three neat parts: trippy sci-fi launch; Stoner Psyche burn zone; Cosmic Doom deceleration path. This could have been a single-track standalone EP.

The second track, “Kepherer,” is a pensive Atmospheric piece. I normally wouldn’t even mention tracks like this except that it is curious that it lands as track two. Not an intro, not an outro, not a mid-album interlude, but the second track. Such placement begs to suggest this album is a narrative and this Atmospheric buffer serves as a bridge between the story which starts in “Duat” and extends into “Psychotasia” and beyond. What that story is, I have not idea. Let’s just say it’s subjective and we can all be right. “Psychotasia,” btw is one of the highlights of the album, leaning more to the Stoner than Doom side of the spectrum.

The oscillating pattern we picked up in the first three tracks continues with “Metamorphoenix” as a slower, synth-laden Atmospheric piece which bridges to, yep, you got it a meatier, riff-heavy track, “Pyramind.” But I guess that’s where the pattern stops, as the final track, “Empyros,” is similar in style and effect to “Pyramind.” Altogether, Doom fans will prefer the second half of this album, especially the final two tracks, while Stoner fans may prefer the first half, particularly “Duat” and “Psychotasia.” That leaves track four, “Metamorphoenix” as the unfortunate orphan track . . .  but have no fear, I’m sure some Experimental or Avant-garde fan will give it a good home. It’s the “Planet Caravan” of the album and look how huge that song is!

Cover art is by Malleus. At first blush, it seems like a Coptic icon got caught up with some Aztec symbol and had a Southern Rock album cover. But the longer you gaze at it and think on the album and track titles and maybe even listen to the album while you keep looking at it and take another edible and have another drink. I mean, wtf, you gotta take a break some time. Life has been just. And yeah, there emerges the beak and the cresting fire, and the wings, and the energy lines, and the cosmos implodes and rises . . .

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Duat
2.  Kheperer
3.  Psychostasia
4.  Metamorphoenix
5.  Pyramind
6.  Embryos
Lineup:
Poia – Guitars and fxs
Urlo – Bass, Vocals, fxs, synths
Levre – Drums and fxs
Record Label: Neurot Recordings
     


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