Ufomammut - Fenice [Neurot Recordings - 2022]
Legendary Italian doomsters Ufomammut have unleashed their ninth LP, Fenice. Psychedelic, doomy, and even a bit spacey, their latest shows the group at the top of their game and still mesmerizing listeners with their immersive sound. Mixing solid, heavy grooves with expansive experimentation, Ufomammut continues to impress and inspire with Fenice.
Originally conceived as a single-track concept album, this was split into six different pieces, each with its own aim and purpose to expound on the central theme. Ufomammut's psychedelic basis for their sound, while a bit restrained, adds so much extra texture and dimension to their compositions and gives the listener a few extra layers to dive into while listening. WIth that, they are also able to effortlessly shift focus away from traditional doom patterns and explore other realms of sound. For example, "Psychostasia" feels like a spacey, post-punk song for the first half of its run time before thickening up into a heavy, swirling soup of riffery. Fenice is a wonderful mix of traditional doom elements and more expansive arrangements, working together to spread the album's reach continuously further. This is even more apparent with subsequent spins and allows the listener to delve deeper into the full composition. One of the most fun aspects of this album is how Ufomammut lures the listener in with hypnotic rhythms and sounds, establishing an illusion of safety, then pulling the rug out from under them with abrasive, heavy riffs. This album is full of these "rising from the ashes" moments, and one can see why the album is titled Fenice (Italian for Phoenix).
Always one foot in a different direction than their doomy compadres, Ufomammut furthers their expansive aims with their latest, Fenice. Equal parts hypnotizing and heavy, this latest offering shows the quartet as free and ready to explore, rising from the flames of their older, self-restricted ways. Spreading their wings and rising above their burning husk, Fenice is a wonderful, introspective, and heavy album.Paul Casey