Oro: Opus Alter

Rejoice! All ye who’ve hoped and prayed over the past several years for a return of the SnailKing, the second half of Ufomammut’s two part Oro has arrived. Rather than continue on in vein of Opus Primum’s spacious doom, the Italian trio has returned to their gritty sludge roots on Opus Alter with faster and more aggressive riffing, claustrophobically tight repetitions and surging eddies of synth. It’s a return to form that fuses the riffing of their first two albums with the bigger, bolder production of their newer material. Opus Alter is an epic piece of psychedelic space sludge that concludes Ufomammut’s masterwork with the gravity of a neutron star.

Opus Alter is all riffs and grooves, riffs and grooves… They got back on the riff train, relentlessly driving and jamming out riffs, adjusting rhythms through heavier repetition, altering speed and tone, and allow the songs to cascade, progress and unwind in a manner not unlike Opus Primum. Large portions of the songs are taken up by single riffs, as the synths lash about like the twisting arms of a spiral galaxy, and hyper distorted bass drags along. It’s more straightforward, less atmospheric and is an excellent companion to the open spaces of Opus Primum.

Album opener “Oroborous” winds out a single riff over the course of its first 5 minutes that eventually devours itself like the symbolic self-consuming namesake. “Luxon” contuinues by nodding to Opus Primum and tracking earthen doom straight to album centerpiece “Sulphurdew”.  It’s a track that unfurls slowly, opening with some rocky chop and steady snapping snare before pouring it on with ultra distorted bass and synth and punctuating the rhythmic lilt with pounding drum and cymbal crashes. Tumbling, rolling drums give way to a closing riff that slows down and down as it fades in to “Sublime”. The closing duo of “Sublime” and “Deityrant”, two essentially one riff tracks, perfectly convey the Italian trio’s mastery of subtlety, texture, and rhythm.

Between Primum and Alter, Ufomammut have delivered two truly stellar offerings. Oro is also the Italian trio’s crowning musical achievement, melding approaches both old and new. Combined they represent 95 minutes of the most mind-frying, psychosis-inducing music of the year. There aren’t many bands out there that can compare to their consistently excellent output or their uniquely dense and psychedelic style and Oro is further proof of their doomed out dominance.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
November 5th, 2012


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