Review Summary: "First of all, one sees a very, very bright light. Followed by a shockwave and then you hear the sound of a blast, and then it seems as though there is a minor earthquake...."
Some may claim that anything within the realm of Stoner, Sludge, Drone, or Doom genres are just “recycled Sabbath riffs slowed down” or “a bunch of loser drug-addicts who appreciate 70’s underground metal bands too much”. Now, some of these statements prove to be true at times with certain Stoner, Sludge, Drone, or Doom bands that have been rapidly appearing since about the 1990’s. Bands like Bongzilla and at times, Sleep, cherish the gimmick of marijuana coated air and the typical H.P. Lovecraft and Sabbath worship that goes on throughout the genre. But, these people that blindly state these things have never truly given any of these bands a listen without a thought in their mind about the whole “Sabbath” mentality. Given some bands truly Sabbath worship, they are still great. Such as the legendary Sleep’s Holy Mountain, that thing is pure Iommi laudation, but it also shows that the genre is something more than slowed down Sabbath riffs (and the fact Cisneros and Pike went on to prove they knew a lot more to music than just typical Stoner/Sludge/Doom). However, some relatively new Stoner/Sludge/Doom bands are truly epic, original, righteous, psychedelic, and overall, some of the best metal that has ever crawled up from the depths of hell to greet our ears. With their mind-blowing Sludge-iness, they turn off our minds for a few seconds and let us wallow in the vile images of hell and marijuana they create for us to, oddly enough, enjoy.
Now, onto the actual album we are talking about here, which happens to be “Snailking” by the ever so underrated band, UFOMammut. For some reason, many listeners of Electric Wizard, Weedeater, High on Fire, and various other heavy-as-hell Stoner/Sludge/Doom bands have never had the pleasure of hearing this band that is up their alley of musical tastes, which is just plain baffling. Especially a band of a caliber of UFOMammut, who just do their job so well as a Psychedelic/Sludge/Stoner/Doom band that it is literally painful that they are never thrown in with the likes of the prior bands when talking about these genres. Given they are blatantly excellent at creating Stoner/Sludge/Doom, UFOMammut intend to innovate a little as well. The chilling synths that are present throughout the album are definitely a nod towards Neurosis or ISIS style Post-Metal that they attempt to mix with their own brand of Stoner/Sludge. Not many bands of the Stoner genre attempted to mix the epic sound of Post-Metal in with their own genre at this time, which to some can be considered intriguing. Maybe they aren’t known very well due to the fact they are a couple of stoners from Italy who play underground metal. Yeah, that’s probably it…
But still! These men need to be heard! And this is a great starting point for one to begin adventuring into the desolate and dense atmosphere that is UFOMammut. The album begins with the ambient, synth bearing, and terrifying opener of “Blotch”. This intro sets the mood perfectly for what is about to happen, which is a fairly violent, thunderous, and evil storm that is about take place in your ears once this little ambient intro fades off and ends abruptly. The storm that takes place is known as “Hopscotch”, and it may be one of the heaviest songs in existence. The feedback that roars in once the song suddenly starts is immense. Virgin ears new to the cluster*** of the genres this band falls under may find themselves experiencing a variety of nervewracking sequences. Such as, curling up into the fetal position, viewing a wet stain appearing in the crotch of their pants, and eventually, beginning to feel tears pour down their face. This album pounds away at innocent eardrums relentlessly. If you survive the second track’s brutal riffage, then one may advance to the 3rd song of this epic journey which is a perfectly placed, drugged out song that also has a heavy presence of riffs in the song known as “Lacrimosa”. “Lacrimosa” is the song on the album that perfectly showcases the sound of this album, and the song eases away into the “Odio” and “God”, tracks that display excellent tones of guitar and bass, monolithic drums, and admirable musicianship.
The heavy presence of samples and synths on this album is also noteworthy, especially in “Alcool”, as they effectively set a certain mood of despair, fear, and feeling of seclusion that is similar to “Through Silver in Blood” by Neurosis. “Braindome” is the 7th and 2nd last track on the album that progresses with a continuation of “Alcool". It begins with a sample that says, “What seems to be the trouble soldier? You look a little bit worried…” which further illustrates a tale of hopelessness and fear that surrounds the album. The song rides out on dissonant vocals and massive efforts on the strings, drums, and finishes with yet another sample. The sample depicts an atomic bomb, very appropriate.
Now, the album has finally led up to the 28 minute epic that is “Demontain”, which is a gargantuan beast of a song. This song has it all, great mood, psychedelic moments where you begin to question your existence, echoing vocals, creepy samples, guitar layers, and the breakdowns of bass with blankets of crazy sounds that envelop the listener as he attempts to reach for his bong to try to regain a grasp on reality with a few hits. This album is truly a masterpiece of anything Psychedelic and heavy. It is crime to love Electric Wizard’s discography and not own (or illegally download) this tremendous release from the rather unknown band that is UFOMammut.
Your brain will be pleased.