Ufomammut: Ecate

Italy's sonic explorers encounter some interference

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Since their inception in 1999, Italy’s Ufomammut have walked a singular path in their exploration of the lysergic side of doom. Now 15 years into a distinctive career, the power trio acknowledged the benchmark with the successful Magickal Mastery Tour and celebrated double album, Oro, their debut for Neurot, which is a label fast becoming an institution for all things experimental.

Having celebrated their past, now is the time to look to the future, the band deciding to do so by returning to where it all began, the small Italian village of Sarezzano, to record their seventh album in the place in which they have practised from the outset, and where they also recorded their celebrated second and third albums, Snailking and Lucifer Songs.

Ecate takes its name from a mythological goddess said to travel between the worlds of the living, the deified and the dead. She stands as a symbolic gateway between worlds – a fitting title for an album that from its outset aims to radically alter your perception.

First track Somnium is the sound of an interstellar distress signal, a foreboding klaxon emanating from places unknown as pensive drums and bass gradually knot together to create something thunderous, evolving naturally into a deadly crawl. Vocalist Urlo is barely audible, a disembodied voice emanating at times incoherently from the other side.

Never is your attention allowed to focus, the brazen, but lackadaisical riffing of Chaosecret fading in and out of white noise and conspiratorial whispers, coalescing into moments of bold stridence soon swallowed up by the haze once more. Temple strides from the speakers seemingly warping in and out of tune, all sonic waves to ride up and over the crest of, only to flounder in rapid flurries of double bass.

An escapist fantasy from the outset, it is all too easy to become lost in Ecate’s cinematic soundscapes. While it may well open up portals to other plains of existence, the path through them remains obscure, lost in their own acidic apocalypse.

Ufomammut seem forever trapped in the static in between two radio stations, never quite capable of tuning in, doomed to search forever for a response to their unique distress signal./o:p