Ufomammut - _Oro: Opus Primum / Opus Alter_
(Neurot Recordings, 2012)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (9 out of 10)
There are few occasions when it takes time for an album to hit me. Ufomammut's double album _Oro_ is one of them. In April of this year, this Italian collective released _Oro: Opus Primum_ with the promise of a follow up in the Fall. Months passed and at the release of _Oro: Opus Alter_, everything about this album as well as band made sense. During the Spring and Summer, I had no clue I was missing something in my life. During the hot days of June and July I was not aware of the void in my life. It wasn't until the cooling of the seasons that I discovered the joy of impossibly heavy doom.

Ufomammut has already been gliding in the underground with outstanding releases throughout the '00s. 2004's _Snailking_ still stands tall in its quest to carry on the psychedelic underpainting in stoner doom. In 2010, the band released a 44 minute song called _Eve_ which is one of the best 44 minute doom songs in recent memory. Ufomammut has always been an above average doom band with decent releases. If the _Oro_ releases were just average, I would still be pleased. The fact that both of the releases are so deserving of praise and merit only adds to Ufomammut's solid reputation. _Oro: Opus Primum / Alter_ is not only the best work of the bands, but it is the one of, if not the best doom release of the year.

As seen with past releases, Ufomammut takes its time crafting its passages. Some of the best doom records demand a certain amount of patience. Just the first song alone, "Empireum", takes eight minutes to fully develop. During the course of the opener things build and mount tension. The backdrop is illustrated and the lights are set to add mood. "Empireum" acts as an overture for _Oro_. The mood of the album is set to suffocating with unfathomable amount of weight being put on the listener. There is little reprieve throughout the next 90 minutes, though if you are here, you probably do not need a break.

Ufomammut's mixture of doom is classic. Taking cues from Electric Wizard, the band obscures their vocals to a backing cry. The thick wall of fuzz dominates the front with a tone that is reminiscent of the golden age of stoner doom. Much like the aforementioned Electric Wizard as well as Sleep and Acid King, the heaviness is astronomical. Sometimes the simple formula of monolithic proportions works in stellar ways.

In terms of division between records, _Opus Primum_ is fuller compared to its sister _Opus Alter_. _Opus Alter_ feels leaner and less oppressed by its own weight. This is turn allows the second record to whip stronger with riffs and construct more of a defined groove. Personally, I feel _Alter_ is a stronger finish to an already amazing opening. The second record urges the listener to move uncontrollably, subjecting their own self to unending whiplash. _Primum_ destroys while _Alter_ decimates.

With much said about the music, one of the most endearing parts about _Oro_ is the care and presentation of album art. The three band members have designed the artwork which accompanies their past albums. The psychedelic screen printing collective known as Malleus does astonishing work and the covers for _Oro_ are unparalleled. This is truly the time when artwork can take an already great album and make it legendary. This record came by surprise and I am glad it did. Bravo gentlemen, fucking bravo.

(article published 16/9/2012)


ALBUMS
4/2/2012 D Lake 8 Ufomammut - Oro: Opus Primum
10/31/2010 J Ulrey 9.5 Ufomammut - Eve
11/19/2008 J Ulrey 9 Ufomammut - Idolum
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