Review Summary: Atmospheric space doomsters make a universe of their own...
Italian sludge monsters Ufommamut continue to test the limitations of reality’s walls with their 7th immensely heavy full length “Oro: Opus Alter” which follows on from their previous effort earlier in the year, the mighty “Oro: Opus Primum”.
“Oro: Opus Alter” is the final second part of the “Oro” saga, so therefore shows similarities with the first part as shown by the uses of repeated riffs and sound effects from “Opus Primum”. Although a recipe for a boring disaster, Ufomammut manage to pull it off because they don’t overuse them, and also because the sounds and riffs they create are almost always completely mesmerizing. Collectively, all the songs maintain a rich and dense atmosphere with their uses of several weird and (fittingly) spacey noises which include the traditional robotic blips, eerie robotic voices, faint guitars, guitar feedback and their appropriate use of weird movie quotes, which quite often initiate a progression in the musical movement and suit the mood they create perfectly. On “Sulphurdew” the intro is one of serene beauty, made up of soaring electronic strings. Also the track “Sublime” fittingly describes its haunting outro. These atmospheric intros and outros are thematic through the whole album on each song, as is the impending pummelling riff that succeeds and precedes them.
It is clear Ufomammut have gone down to the interplanetary forge to craft some of the most elephantine and colossal riffs ever constructed. The shock I received from final track “Deityrant” when its rumbling riff tore through my ears, galloping alongside the, thick, crash symbol heavy drums for its first second made me literally jump out of my seat. Then it made me bang my ***ing head. Ufomammut’s powerful riffage is simple yet effective. This was the only case of a riff sneaking up on me because all the songs traditionally have a build-up that gets more intense as more layers are added on to it. For example, on the first track “Orobus”, the bass line kicks in, then the drums, and then the riff comes in and gradually gets heavier until it explodes into a glorious and all-encompassing distortion. Also, the ambience of their quite passages mixes in with their heavier parts, combining to make a psychedelic soundscape Hawkwind would have been proud of. The track “Luxon” is primarily made up of one note relentlessly strummed over and over again, but the variations of the twisted electronic sound effects keeps it interesting and listenable.
This album, which is effectively a whole song, puts the listener into a trance they can’t escape from, and why would you? The universe Ufomammut create is a mysterious and memorable one, its atmosphere and cyclopean riffs envelop the whole album as well as the previous album, “Oro: Opus Primum”. The completion of this duality with “Oro: Opus Alter” has firmly planted Ufomammut as space doom pioneers. Epic, intergalactic fun.