In literary terms, Ufomammut’s new long player titled Ecate feels not like a mere 45 minute album, but the aural equivalent of Homer’s Odyssey. It’s a punishing trip into some desolate, dystopian world. Think Frank Herbert’s Dune melded with William Gibson’s Neuromancer and you might have an idea of where this music roams. Musically speaking, this is “stoner doom space metal”. I do not own the copyright to that phrase, but I will use it often and with much vigor. The riffs on Ecate are sludgy and massive; much like a wooly mammoth making its way across a meteor-scorched earth. Matt Pike and Sleep pretty much begat the stoner/doom genre with their weedian masterpiece Dopesmoker, along with Electric Wizard’s excellent Come My Fanatics. Ufomammut keep the genre alive and well with Ecate.
So how do you continue to make sludgy doom metal vital? Well, throw some synths into the mix and take that red-eyed trip to space. At least, that’s what Ufomammut has done to stunning effect. Since 2000 these Italian sludge metal Gods have put out eight albums, with each one surpassing the next. 2012s Oro: Opus Primum and Oro: Opus Alter were classics of the genre and it seemed Ufomammut could never top them. Ecate doesn’t necessarily top those two records as much as use them as jumping off points. “Somnium” opens with synthesizers rising slowly from the ashes of some recently fought galactic battle. Someone has woken the sleeping giant and there’s Hell to pay. Tribal and monstrous, thundering bass rolls in before riffage appears out of the smoke and embers and crushes our psyche for nearly 10 minutes. “Plouton” sounds like it could’ve come right off of Holy Mountain. Guitars growl and scratch as vocals belch out from the darkness. “Chaosecret” is the centerpiece of this great LP. It takes its time making its way through it’s nearly 11 minute span, spacey noise and distant voices come in and out of the mix. It’s a trip into the belly of the beast. Ufomammut enjoys the journey just as much as reaching the destination, and this is one hell of a trip. This is doom metal you can meditate or trance out to. “Revelation” is a synthed-out moment of aural bliss. A reprieve from the relentless riff and doom, if you will. If you’re at all familiar with White Hills’ H-p1 LP, then this track will give you the warm and fuzzies for sure. Not to end an album on a blissful, spacey note, “Daemons” brings back the massive crunchy riff for a 10 minute ride into the heart of darkness. With elements of early Deftones, Tool, and even Sunn O))), this track pummels you until the last ringing note.
Ecate is the kind of record that gives you hope for the future of metal. Ufomammut are keeping the tradition of bands like Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Sleep, and High Of Fire alive and well. Stoner doom space metal lives on, and we’re the better for it.
8.8 out of 10