09 May 2022 - Thorsten

Heavy Psychedelic, Post-Metal, Electronic Metal | Neurot Recordings | Release date: 06 May 2022 | Favorite song: Duat

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There are names for albums that resonate the record’s inner core. But with Fenice, the new record by Italian psychedelic heavy mashers UFOMAMMUT, it seems that the record’s name is the program for the album itself. The phoenix rising from the ashes, the reborn band, the new life after utter darkness and loss of self. A new drummer completing the line-up giving the other two members the breath of fresh air that is rejuvenating and enticing at the same time. Welcome to Fenice, all you friends of the strongly resonating six-axe!

This record marks a very specific turn for the band from Piemont, Northern Italy as it is the first one with their new drummer Levre who joined Poia and Urlo, the charismatic core duo of UFOMAMMUT to jam around a bit and finally ended up being a replacement and a fountain of youth; similarly to Kenneth Kapstad for Motorpsycho whose involvement with the Norwegian powerhouse also offered very new opportunities and chances for Bent and Hans Magnus. Levre is younger for sure but more important, he’s more dynamic in his playing and thus it becomes necessary for Poia and Urlo not only to follow but to outshine the youngster in terms of heaviness and versatility.

The new record is surely the one with the highest level of distortion or oscillation of the by now nine UFOMAMMUT full-lengths, which might already say something. The band is not playing hide and seek but steps fully into the limelight of their own possible heaviness in a way that they make the strings reverb very strongly, close to industrial tones or also some punkish form of psychedelia. They keep up with the somewhat futuristic soundscapes resulting in some hissing, biting noises, for example at the beginning of ”Metamorphoenix”, where we find a longer intro with the sounds of swirling, accidentally cut-off cables rolling on the floor of the spaceships spitting sparks everywhere which then again hit the control-board and make it impossible to steer the spacecraft. When these noises are slowly drained out by some wonderfully ebbing guitar lines the song is already 3:30 minutes and then Levre joins in with some nice work jazzing up the cymbals. We get the feeling of some false security especially when the cables are shining through the wavey guitar-lines. But then Urlo joins in with some distant yet soothing vocals and we all can calm down a bit. Even if there is another dangerous moment, we will get through it all, together, as everything flows together so warmly and gently and builds up so immensely but never extremely loud. One can notice the spaceship slowly traversing the meteor shower with utter care and coming out on the other side, at the beginning of ”Pyramind” which is a lot harder but with a lot of underlying meandering guitar-tunes turning around trying to outshine the other.

The longest track comes at the beginning, ”Duat” is more than ten minutes long and a prime example of how well the band works nowadays. It starts with a pumping heartbeat over some simple synth passages and then we face a lightning noise passage at the end of which we are greeted by some highly industrious sounds (not industrial!) which then take over and lead the track into a somewhat new electronic realm which is finally flowing into a perfectly arranged, nearly punkishly-designed rock format with the rhythm section leading the way into the second half of the track. And this second half is a full-out-war-attack on your senses with riffs flying left and right, strong cymbal and drum kicks in general and the swirling electronics in full effect again. At some moments one hears a bit of Aphex Twin’s electronics, then again it’s LLNN, a pinch of Pitchshifter and great heavy psychedelia like A Place To Bury Strangers!

One can utter dislike for line-up changes as much as one wants but when the result is a record like this (!) - no one should complain but thank the gods of metal that a remaining band has found such fitting and demanding new members. Fenice is a rebirth that will leave a lot of people flabbergasted and asking if this a line-up that has perfected its craft over years and years! UFOMAMMUT rise from the ashes and give birth to a record that can match most heavy records in 2022. Comeback album of the year!