Ufomammut “Fenice” [Neurot Recordings]
Ufomammut have demonstrated a willingness to take on conceptual material in the past, but they’ve upped their game on “Fenice” (pronounced Feh-NEE-chay, I reckon, the Italian translating to “Phoenix”). A sci-fi intro that glimmers like readouts in the darkened cabin of a well-worn spacecraft until the band kicks in. When they do, I hear a different vibe happening compared to earlier stuff I’ve heard from them. I wouldn’t say it’s upbeat—maybe manic. Until the crushing breakdown, which is pure Ufomammut, and yet a bit more immediate, more visceral. They’re balancing the frenetic and the long structures simultaneously. The gravitational lensing of space time is heavy enough to land it in some of our more psychedelic programs. That brief guitar solo in track 3, Psychostasia, with the massive bass below is killer. Given the translation of the album title, this reviewer anticipated track 4, Metamorphoenix, as a possible title track, and as such, might serve as a microcosm for the larger macrocosmos of the album. But no, gentle textures give way, so gradually, to a building riff, but it’s quite symbiotically joined to track 5, Pyramind, much as track 2, Kheperer, is a natural dissolution/extension of track 1, Duat. With Pyramind the hammering riff is thrown down until all is left a shambles. Where some past Ufomammut compositions have driven ideas nearly into the ground, on “Fenice” they never stay in one place for too long. The final track, Empyros, is a relatively short and driving closer to drop a little adrenaline into a set. Atavist is pleased.
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