Review: Ufomammut – Eve

Ufomammut are at their best when they’re really rocking out – when riffs, spoken word passages and grinding noise all erupt at once, guided by the effortless manner of a band now with ten years behind them. There’s a hefty amount of build-up on this record (with eight-minute stretches that excessively tease the listener with the promise of imminent climax) but unlike so many artists residing in the sludge/doom/post-metal sector, the crescendos hit with a thunderous, explosive force that they make the preceding gradual ascension entirely worth it.

Eve is essentially one giant track broken into five seamless yet distinguishable sections, vaguely reminiscent of Hyatari’s The Light Carriers in the way certain themes crop up and then recur later on. It turns out that Ufomammut seem to operate best in this format – their monolithic sound is given 45 minutes to develop and shift forms, instead of brief convulsions in individual fragments. Part I takes its time, content to drift and ponder on a distant melody and the occasional surge of cymbal wash before rising steadily into colossal groove. And just when Eve feels like it’s hit an intensity peak, in pours a thick torrent of buzzsaw distortion and agitated oscillators to thrust the piece right to the perilous edge of apocalyptic meltdown.

From here on, Eve sways from desolate ambient monotony to ferocious noise and back again, never quite reaching the same storming heaviness as it does in part I but still grooving with a terrific power nonetheless. Part III is particularly brilliant, cutting away the soundscape decoration and delivering three blistering minutes of ceaseless full throttle.

It’s baffling how the band have managed to up the production from previous album Idolum, but Eve looms over its predecessor without a doubt – the drums in particular are more aggressive on the new record, with a vicious snare crack sitting in place of the warmer, softer patter of past releases. Also notable is the way in which the production of Eve never risks overloading itself, and manages to stay sturdy even when faced with Ufomammut’s typically daunting quantity of layers. This is the sound of a band triumphantly streamlining their attack – whereas previous albums occasionally appeared to be precarious and daunted by their own mammoth weight, Eve is utterly formidable from start to finish.