Oro: Opus Primum
Italian psych-doom behemoths Ufomammut return with ‘Oro: Opus Primum’, their highly anticipated 7th full-length album, their debut for Neurot Recordings. Over the past decade, they have received plaudits from far reaching corners of the music world; their musical progression and ambition evident with each subsequent release, in addition to live shows synonymous with a taut atmosphere, accompanied by austere visuals designed and implemented by artist collective, Malleus (who include Ufomammut amongst their members).
‘Empireum’ slowly develops as ambient passages weave throughout repetitive yet engaging drums; understated yet creating a nurturing atmosphere from which a looming drone is birthed. The bass is foreboding, creating a backdrop for the environment; the drums shift into a more organic and rhythmic domain. The monumental riffs which punctuate ‘Aureum’ are both crushing and hypnotic; hauling you towards parts unknown. The vocals, despite being clean, are utilised as an instrument in themselves, enhancing atmosphere as opposed to delivering a message. The layered intensity of the bass is relentless and omnipresent, never forgiving.
There is no release in ‘Infearnatuaral’; the repetitive bass deepening the experience of hypnosis. This is monolithic, and Ufomammut continue to demonstrate why they should be considered as true visionaries in the field. They exude boundless creativity, strata of keyboard and drone creating and evolving an atmospheric wall of sound throughout the entire work.
‘Magicko’ advances through swathes of keyboard drone and textured use of cymbal; it’s at least five minutes until we experience chest-rattling bass drum, wherein the song awakens from its slumber and carries the listener into the final track. ‘Mindomine’ draws the listener into an initial transitional ambience then pummels with overwhelming bass and monstrous riffs. As the final seconds draw the album to a close, you have to take a moment to appreciate the silence.
You can’t help but feel that had they been American or Scandinavian they would be idolised as leaders of the genre, with ‘Oro: Opus Primum’ the zenith of the evolutionary work of the band over the past ten years. This is without doubt their magnum opus; with each listen, the complexities and textural layers continue to unfold.
Posted: Mon 19 March 2012