Review Summary: Absolute apocalypse
As an Ufomammut fan, every new album release means great news. The remarkable consistency of their output never ceased to amaze those interested in psychedelic doom/sludge music. Although their overall sound didn't change over the years, lately, the riffs have become more prominent and heavier. Meanwhile, the contrasting ambient side continues to maintain that dense, uneasy atmosphere each of their records boasts. The double sided ORO
was a massive chapter in the band's book that further conveyed the listener into their universe. After deciding to once more push the sonic limits, Ecate
ended up as the Italians' hardest hitting and most streamlined album so far.
Fascinated by the occult and paganism, the power trio named the latest project after the ancient Greek goddess of the three worlds: the world of humans, gods and the dead. The Christian church saw Hecate as a negative entity associated with witchcraft and black magic, so she was blacklisted from early on. Ufomammut always strived to create something more than just a doom record, thus presenting us something akin to an ancient ritual. It is safe to say the music manages to match the deity's spiritual complexity. Highlight cuts like 'Temple' or 'Daemon' reveal some of the harshest and intense riffs these guys have come up with yet. The overwhelming amount of fuzz backed up by noise and visceral screams create an apocalyptic vibe while slowly crushing you. The entire structure of the songs feels more refined and audible than before, therefore adding a lot to the listening experience.
Besides those, the vocals have also been more carefully worked and placed on each tune. 'Plouton', one of the most straightforward tune the band has churned yet, is a prime example of this new approach. There are clear verses and choruses atop some murky, lumbering riffs. The usual, hellish sea of samples, dialogues and screams are still dominant, however, they are less ubiquitous on Ecate
, as evidenced on the slowly unfolding opener, 'Somnium', or the raging 'Chaosecret', leaving more space for the menacing grooves. On past favorites such as Idolum
those trance-inducing walls of noise abound, whereas here are used in smaller amounts to allow you to concentrate on the riffage.
In many ways, Ecate
can be heralded as Ufomammut's greatest achievement so far. Condensing ORO
into one album, while focusing on structure and vocals, only managed to bring out the best of them. The recipe's the same, but unlike before, you have controlled chaos here. The pure heavy riffs beautifully merge with the ambient parts and what these guys learned best was to dose them. The band seems to have already pushed their limits into oblivion with this effort. Now, there is no turning back and it will be very interesting to see how can they top this.