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UFOMammut: Idolum

Trailed on the album cover as psichedelic (sic) rock, this is an album full of surprises, the first being that it most definitely isn't what it says on the tin. This is heavy, man is it heavy; its positively plutonium enriched. The song titles do give the idea away to a degree with titles like "Destroyer" and "Elephantom" but the central concept is that the songs don't just reflect the theme but also the "massive but hidden presence" – perhaps like dark matter. Either way the 3 piece power trio stomp all over your brains and guts with some of the densest bass I've heard on a record for some time. Stoner Rock might be a good label but it would make stones look like candy floss.

"Stigma" rolls up slowly like an approaching Juggernaut with a multilayered bass riff, before drums and synths join the mix and ghostly voices cackle and echo in the background. You think this is dark; just wait. After a couple of minutes they really up the density as they pound in with even more bass, wailing background vocals and thundering drums. This isn't thrash metal though, there's a sensibility to the headache, carried over by the synth washes and textures, which emerges in its most obvious form only when the band stop banging your head against the wall.

"Stardog" starts like the Monsters from the Id hammering on the steel lab walls of the good Doctor Morbius. The crunchy guitar work and imbecilic voices rise just above the seething bass and drum surface, with occasional breath for air between riffs. I don't know who Stardog might be but he could sure scare the shit out of a Klingon. There's a great break into a second theme midway which is very effective leading to some impressive screaming – definitely a track to take all your latent anger out on. For **'s sake don't play it in the car though.

"Hellectric" has a lurching, digging rhythm to it and is helped by some ebb and flow to the music and thoughtful use of white noise as background. "Ammonia" is the first time the bass riffs take a break. The track has an ethereal warm up and funereal rhythm, supplemented by the sorrowful wailing and manic laughter of Rose Kemp. Hawkwind's early space-rock is brought to mind in the beginning of "Nero", a lengthy piece which enjoys good build and the development of tension. Again the band make subtle use of the voices and synth washes to achieve this, something which only becomes really apparent with repeated listens, if your head can take it. After this (relatively) subtler offering, "Destroyer" hits you in the face like a lump of concrete with starter bars attached, its thrash-metal apocalypticism coming down on you like the wrath of the Gods. Three and a half minutes of sheer terror.

At 20 minutes plus, "Void" might seem a bit OTT and you are left with the impression that the main aim was to stretch the album to 66.6 minutes; nevertheless, its better value for money and less annoying than Devil Doll who achieved the same thing by leaving a 15 minute blank in the mix on "The Girl who was Death". This space rock epic starts calmly, building in layers of bass and synths before the lumbering giant (otherwise known as Urlo the bassist) which dominates the album returns. After 10 minutes the volume falls back to an oscillating spacey background (the void perhaps?) which soothes the listener into a false sense of dream-like serenity. I think the band went off for a cup of tea at this point, leaving the loop on as it holds out for some 10 minutes or more (to be fair there is some almost indistinguishable development in the frequency curve in there). The electronic wasteland is gradually replaced by keyboards and then the sudden and hellish return to pounding riffs and cymbal crashes. There is another shift here though to a more reflective section featuring an off-beat bass and twin guitar mix where Lorenzer from the band Lento enters. The track, and album, is completed by the brilliantly titled "Elephantom", beating the final sonic nails into your space-coffin.

I've never seen the band but I imagine there's a lot of hair and bikes at one of their gigs. Still, if the thrash end of stoner rock and post-rock styled metal is your thing, this will surely satisfy as it is several classes of composition and delivery above most bands treading this end of the rock spectrum. "In case of sonic attack on your district……. send the buggers back a copy of Idolum."


Track Listing
1. Stigma
2. Stardog
3. Hellectric
4. Ammonia
5. Nero
6. Destroyer
7. Void
8. Elephantom

Added: November 10th 2008
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Score:
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 1021
Language: english

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