It’s more than a little appropriate that 2012, the alleged Mayan apocalypse year, is also the year of Italian doom-freaks Ufomammut.
Ufomammut’s newest slab of mind-bending riffs, ORO: Opus Alter, was released today on Neurot Recordings— a new heavy-psych dream/nightmare to accompany the last ORO record, ORO: Opus Primum, which was released five months ago. Although the two albums stand alone nicely, they are meant to flow together as one single track. Opus Alter picks up where Opus Primum leaves off, exploring into deeper and more powerful territory.
What else can I say but that this latest pair of ORO records is truly a mind trip. I’ve been a fan of Ufomammut up from their first demo, “Satan”, and it’s impossible not to acknowledge their incredible evolution as a band as time goes on. They have always been psychedelic hellions, but they’ve progressively managed to shed the “stoner metal” label that is generally associated with (still amazing) albums like Snailking to become the mind-melting, genre-bending force of nature they are today. Ufomammut continues to tread new ground, and so it’s no surprise that Neurosis-founded label Neurot picked them up… and that they now stand alongside bands like U.S Christmas, A Storm of Light and Buried at Sea.
There are many things to love about ORO: Opus Alter: The tormented, underwater vocals, the fuzzy storm of riffs, the bestially chaotic atmosphere and the certain dark strangeness here that just tends to naturally radiate from Italian metal. But the main thing to love is the ease in which they draw you into their apocalyptic world using psychedelic sorcery. Themes on Opus Alter are complex and explore ideas like power of knowledge and the human mind’s ability to gain control of the world that surrounds us. According to Neurot, ORO mutates the Italian palindrome translating to “gold” with the Latin translation of “I prey,” culminating flowing, dividing and blending substances into the creation of gold. While this description may be a little out there, I recommend keeping it in mind while listening to the pair of ORO albums. Also, these albums definitely are gold, and should be acknowledged as such.
If you enjoy sludge, doom, heavy rock or psychedelia, or if you just enjoy nice vinyl (this LP is one of the nicest ones I’ve seen in a while, with origami-like packaging and Malleus-screened artwork, of course) you would be making a mistake not to pick up ORO: Opus Alter. Get ready to be crushed.