Ufomammut - "Eve" (CD)
"Eve" track listing:
1. Eve (44:42)
Reviewed by heavytothebone2 on May 17, 2010
Patience is a virtue that seems to be slipping away in modern metal. Disposable bite-sized songs are the rave, as bands look to one-up each other with flashy solos and brutal breakdowns. It has become so mystifying that anytime a band tries something different, all the so-called “tr00” metal heads flock to it and bow down in blinding praise (i.e.: Mastodon, Baroness). However, just because a band is creatively stimulating doesn’t mean that everything they put out will be earth shattering.
Enter Ufomammut, an Italian stoner/doom metal band that has spent the better part of a decade in obscurity. Their latest album, “Eve,” is a single 44-minute song split into five sections. Ufomammut has performed epic tracks before, but nothing to the scale of “Eve.” A throwback to the days of Genesis and Pink Floyd, the song is very ambitious, but fails to live up to its grandiose nature. There’s a fine line between ambience and unnecessary padding and the band crosses into the latter far too often.
The song starts off slow, picks up into a tense build-up, and repeats this formula multiple times. Sometimes, the build-up pays off; other times, it goes absolutely nowhere. Largely instrumental, the only vocals utilized are chants in the beginning and a few screams in the middle part. They are layered so deep in the mix, so it’s hardly a factor. The band themselves are solid musicians, keeping a tight restraint on their aggressive side until the right moments.
“Eve” hits its stride at the midway point, where Ufomammut pulls the chains off and gets loose with driving riffs and punchy drums. After over 20 minutes of plodding melodies and minimal progression, an extended heavy-as-molasses passage is what the album needed. While the guitar work is low-key on much of the album, this section is given a boost with one hell of an explosive solo. It isn’t pretty, but the wailing notes pierce sharply like a hatchet to the skull.
If “Eve” had more sections like this, it would have left a longer lasting impression. The fact is that the band likes to keep things subdued; not necessarily a bad trait, but one that lends itself to sections where minutes go by with nothing to show for it. Not even prominent synth and samples can save the music from getting tedious. This flaw is more apparent in the first half of the song than the second half, which may turn off those who don’t have the patience to get to the meaty parts.
Ambitious, epic, far-reaching, gargantuan scope: all proper descriptions of “Eve.” Slow, false build-ups that don’t deliver a payoff: also a proper description of “Eve.” It’s one long track that is meant to be heard from front to back, as the individual sections are worthless as separate entities. Doom metal fans will enjoy the album, as they tend to do with albums that don’t stick to any traditional songwriting traits. Ufomammut took a big chance with “Eve,” one that mostly fails to live up to its lofty goals.
Highs: Aggressive middle section, the album flows well, nice synth effects.
Lows: Long build-ups that don't deliver much of a payoff, not enough explosive moments, will test the patience of the average metal fan.
Bottom line: An ambitious undertaking by Ufomammut that doesn't deliver on its lofty premise.
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