Posts Tagged ‘Fenice’

Neurot Recordings – 6th May 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

There’s something about Neurot: as a label, it certainly has a distinct ‘house style’, and if it does seem to be predominantly in the vein of Neurosis, then Ufomammut’s latest offering, Fenice,  is simultaneously definitive and a departure, in that it’s clearly metal in persuasion, and given to long, slow, and expansive workouts, with the majority of the album’s six pieces running (well) past the seven-minute mark. It’s delicately-paced, too: it’s not all a crawl, but the crescendos land a fair way apart and the build-ups are long and deliberate.

Opener ‘Duat’ is an absolute monster, clocking in past ten and a half minutes, and beginning with ominous dark ambience and slow to a crawl electronics, before a surging techno bass grind cuts through and pulses away. It’s three and a half minutes before the guitars pile in, and when they do, everything comes together to forge a piledriving industrial blast: for a moment, I’m reminded of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘March of the Pigs’, but then things switch again with a tempo change, slowing to a lumbering thud. It builds from there, and the final minute hits that sweet spot of pulverizing riffery that is pure joy. Ufomammut may be a ‘doom’ band by designation, but this is some of the most dynamic progressive metal you’ll hear.

Having set the bar so high so early, the challenge is, can they sustain it? ‘Kepherer’ is a dank, semi-ambient interlude that provides some much-needed breathing space. ‘Psychostasia’ starts off gently, but again, builds into a really slugger, the riff hard and repetitive, the vocals half-buried amidst overdrive and reverb, and it’s so, so exhilarating.

It takes an eternity of a slow, nagging cyclical motif, rich in chorus and reverb, before ‘Metamprphoenix’ breaks, and segues immediately into the throbbing behemoth that is ‘Pyramind’, where things do, finally, hit all-out doom grind with the heaviest, most crushing power chords. The bass goes so low that it practically burrows underground, while the guitars soar skyward. Closer ‘Empyros’ is the album’s shortest track, and it’s three minutes of punishing guitars that pick up precisely where ‘Pyramind’ leaves off and just drives and drives and drives, churning, hard, heavy.

If you’re seeking instant gratification, Fenice isn’t the album you want, but that doesn’t mean that it by any means feels drawn-out or like there’s much waiting involved: despite the lengthy songs, and the slow-builds, the textures and atmospheres are remarkable. I have a friend who loves his slow-burning metal and math-rock, but hates Amenra because he finds them insufferably tedious. Personally, I’m a fan, but I get the impatience, and it is largely around this kind of slow, earthy metal where time stalls and aeons pass between events, and the builds take several lifetimes to come to any kind of fruition – but this most certainly isn’t an issue for Ufomammut on Fenice. The compositions twist and turn and continue to not only hold the attention but to tug at the senses, keeping the listener on edge, poised, tense, expectant. And they always deliver on those expectations.

There is a clear and definitely trajectory here, too, building over the last three pieces to a point where the riffs are dominant – megalithic grinds that hit hard. Fenice makes you feel a broad range of things: boredom or disappointment aren’t among them. It does require some work, but it’s amply rewarded.

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As Italian masters of heavy psychedelia Ufomammut prepare to release their ninth full-length album, Fenice, through Neurot Recordings in early May, they have just shared a video for ‘Pyramind’.

For more than two decades, Ufomammut has combined the heaviness and majesty of dynamic riff worship with a nuanced understanding of psychedelic tradition and history in music, creating a cosmic, futuristic, and technicolour sound destined for absolute immersion. Fenice, “phoenix” in Italian, represents endless rebirth and the ability to start again after everything seems doomed. The album is the first recording with new drummer Levre joining Poia and Urlo, marking a new chapter in the band’s history and unveiling a more intimate, free sound for the group.

The second single from Fenice, ‘Pyramind’ is delivered through a visualiser filmed in a scenic rural setting in Italy. Guitarist Poia reveals, “To choose a single track from Fenice isn’t easy, because the songs are long and linked together, and the flow results are incomplete. But we think that ‘Pyramind’ represents in a very clear way Ufomammut’s two-souls attitude: the heaviness melted down with psychedelia.”

Watch the video here:

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LIVE DATES:

07.05.22 – Alessandria (IT), Laboratorio Sociale – Album release party
14.05.22 – Mezzago (IT), Bloom
24.05.22 – Vienna (AT), Arena
25.05.22 – Karlsruhe (DE), Dudefest
26.05.22 – Bremen (DE), Tower
27.05.22 – Ghent (BE), Dunk!festival
28.05.22 – Groningen (NL), Vera
29.05.22 – Berlin (DE), Desertfest
30.05.22 – Dresden (DE), Chemiefabrik
31.05.22 – Salzburg (AT), Rockhouse
10.06.22 – Munich (DE), 17 Years Sound of Liberation Festival
11.06.22 – Piacenza (IT), Desert Fox Festival
24.06.22 – Wiesbaden (DE), 17 Years Sound of Liberation – Official Festival Warmup
26.06.22 – Clisson (FR), Hellfest
18.08.22 – Pescara (IT), Frantic Festival

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Photo by Francesca De Franceschi Manzoni.

On May 6th Italian alchemists and power trio Ufomammut return with their ninth studio album, Fenice via Neurot Recordings and Supernatural Cat, but not as we’ve heard them before, now “more intimate, more free.”

For over 20 years, the band has combined the heaviness and majesty of dynamic riff worship with a nuanced understanding of psychedelic tradition and history in music, creating a cosmic, futuristic, and technicolor sound destined for absolute immersion.

Fenice (meaning Phoenix in Italian) symbolically represents endless rebirth and the ability to start again after everything seems doomed. The album is the first recording with new drummer Levre, and truly marks a new chapter in Ufomammut history.

“I think we lost our spontaneity, album after album,” says Urlo. “We tried to make more complicated songs and albums, but I think at some point we just ended up repeating ourselves. With Fenice, we were ready to start from zero, we had no past anymore – so we just wanted to be reborn and rise from the ashes..”

Whilst the band are well-known for their psychedelic travels into the far reaches of the cosmos, Fenice is a much more introspective listening experience. Fenice was conceived as a single concept track, divided in six facets of this inward-facing focus. Sonic experimentations abound in the exploration of this central theme; synths and experimental vocal effects are featured more prominently than ever before as the band push themselves ever further into the uncharted territory of their very identity.

Check out the video for ‘Psychostasia’ here:

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