Oro: Opus Primum
Ufomammut’s sound defies any natural explanation of doom. Intrinsically the core elements are there, the body hammer riffs, the booming drums, the thick sludgy grooves. The ethereal vocals, the spacey effects and the mystery with the band serve to convolute matters. Not that’s it’s a bad thing – everyone loves a bit of mystery. And then there’s their lofty ambition to stand out from the rest of the pack. Be this their collaboration with Malleus to provide their stunning visuals or the concepts they employ, and you can see why Steve Von Till was keen to make them an addition to the Neurot family. Following on from the success of ‘Eve’, Ufomammut’s next step is to unleash a two-part opus entitled ‘Oro‘. The first of those parts ‘Opus Primum‘, has dropped like a proverbial atom bomb, and even the highest of expectations for the new relationship between Neurot and Ufomammut have been blown away thus far.
‘Oro: Opus Primum‘ consists of five epic, sonically-charged tracks that elevate Ufomammut to even newer heights. The opener ‘Empireum’ slowly builds with an almost alien-synth noise that slowly echoes across the initial hum, the melody of which returns in different forms across the album. Eventually it kicks in with some fine sludge jamming, but things really go up a gear on ‘Aureum’, with a fabulous sludge groove that shifts around the 4:15 mark leads to a cracking groove and encounters many more twists and turns before it’s finally done. From there its reaches a sense of triumphalism, with the soaring ‘Infearnatural’, the thick low end slurry counterpointed by bassist Urlo’s majestic, entrancing voice as it starts. If you ain’t drawn in by that rare vocal moment, then I honestly don’t know what will. The lack of vocals don’t hinder Ufomammut whatsoever, but when they do use them, as they do on this song, they deliver. That spooky melody does indeed return at the beginning of ‘Magickon’, providing a nice set-up, and a fitting one at that, for closer ‘Mindomine’, which the melody plays out in full riff form, bringing about the experience full circle.
Ufomammut – Aureum
The progression is such that it could be presented as one individual track – as previously indicated, riffs, sequences and lines are echoed at various points in the record, not unlike Meshuggah’s ‘Catch Thirty-Three‘ or, more recently and more closely, Mike Patton’s soundtrack for ‘The Solitude of Prime Numbers‘. It gives ‘Opus Primum‘ a cinematic feel almost, something in keeping with their audio/visual collaborative, and it makes it all the more interesting for it. Indeed, the vinyl versions of the record come with a DVD with the visuals for the album, an experience at this stage I can only anticipate to be mindblowing. The tracks certainly stand up alone, but it’s in its entirety that ‘Oro: Opus Primum‘ truly excels.
I kept my expectations well in check for this release, even given Ufomammut’s previous successes, but this is seriously a bar raiser for doom metal in 2012, and I really can’t help but wonder and anticipate what ‘Oro: Opus Alter‘ might bring when it is released in September.