Ufomammut - Idolum Review
by Mark Hensch
The universe pulses with a heartbeat, and its name is Idolum. The latest from psychedelic stoners Ufomammut, this album stomps with all the density of a collapsing black hole while throbbing with the very rhythm of a breathing cosmos. It is a dichotomy of unrelenting heaviness and expansive psychedelia easily explained.
The heaviness stems from within Ufomammut itself, long a staple of the doom metal scene's soul crushing. Though the band has always churned out mind-blowing cuts of plodding destruction, Idolum is a beast apart. Mentally speaking, I would even go so far as to dub this the heaviest album of 2008.
Such accolades are easily explained by the band's penchant for out there soundscapes. Though anchored in some of the most gargantuan riffs possible, Idolum floats away into realms of infinite power, entering vistas of mind-altering shock and awe. The album's title backs this thought, meaning "ghost" and "idea" simultaneously in Latin. Clearly, this is heady stuff.
"Stigma," for example, hums with a trance inducing hypnosis that would make Tool bitterly weep in shame. The next part---a planet shattering series of riffs striking like thunder from the heavens---would blow them apart.
"Stardog" alternatively goes right for the jugular with titanic guitars and walls of stoner rhythms floating in zero gravity. The vocals on this one are meanwhile literally and metaphorically brilliant, glowing with the detached fire of a passing comet.
"Hellectric," meanwhile, exists as stellar wisps of ethereal melodies backed by spiraling tribal percussion. Spooky and cosmic, it feels like exploring a haunted star cruiser lost deep in space. Beyond this, the song batters listeners with a meteor shower of gigantic guitars and skullf*cking rhythms.
After this comes Idolum's surprise song in "Ammonia." Though the album's "quietest" song, "Ammonia" drifts by with the delicacy of star light and the freedom of open space. Wordless wailing from a female vocalist sails away on soft psychedelics only to vanish in a supernova of sound and never be seen again.
"Nero" in contrast lays down Idolum's most brutal beating. Warlike drums march through ghostly vortexes of malice, all before exploding into ferocious doom.
"Destroyer" continues in the same vein, coasting through a spectral massacre akin to classic YOB or Neurosis. Be it the solar flare guitar assaults, the shimmering freakouts, or the sludged out breakdowns, this one has at all.
Nothing mentioned above tops the finishing KO that is "Void/Elephantom" however. Clocking in at over 27 minutes, this epic conjuration takes a single note and slowly balloons it into a wave of annihilating energy. Shamanistic and raw, this is a piece of music which rises above petty description.
All-in-all, Idolum seemingly possesses universal appeal. Firstly, stoners and trippers will love the hazy atmospheres. After this, metalheads have plenty of exquisite headbanging moments and drone fanatics can easily get lost in the endless maze of possible realms this album offers. Finally, music fans of other more general stripes should simply appreciate Ufomammut's surprising catchiness and wicked originality. Simply put, Idolum shines like a star in the evening sky and it should---this is one heavenly experience. Get this now.
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