Far beyond the outer reaches of known space, the immense capital cruiser UFOMAMMUT ravages planets with the relentless capacity of a dying sun. There are few that dare to stand in its wake, and fewer still that can withstand the destructive oscillations of its triumvirate-driven engines. The reverberations generated are felt along light years of intergalactic space travel, shaking the foundations of every system along an immeasurable distance of stars, before at last arriving at the delicate satellite we call home.
The Mediterranean threesome have long been maestros of colossal power, crafting devastating sludge with prehistoric mass. I wax lyrical with the exaggerated terminology of science-fiction, but those familiar with the band will recognise and surely approve of the comparison. Now approaching a quarter-century in tenure, UFOMAMMUT have many years since established themselves as a foremost pioneer of psychedelic dread and dirge. The trio of Poia, Urlo, and Levre delivered Fenice unto us just last year, and those of a mind with myself will be most pleased to hear that Crookhead picks up right where their 8th LP left off.
Yes, despite such a storied career, UFOMAMMUT have lost none of their cutting edge, blunted not by the ravages of time. The EP’s title track begins seemingly before my playback engine has had the chance to boot up. The record’s longest track is a nine-minute goliath of fuzz, announcing itself immediately with incendiary beats and overpowering tone. With grooves that have become the band’s trademark, the track weaves between plodding hammer blows to incite the deepest of nods and mechanical patterns that cyclone into a distorted oblivion. The soundtrack to “Crookhead” is everything we’ve come to expect from the group, and stands as testament to their genre supremacy.
“Supernova” is as apt a name as there ever was for the second track, with swirling sawtooths and synthpads decorating an implosion of doom frenzy. Impenetrable guitar tones crawl beyond the edges of the speaker cones, much so that one imagines they resonate on deeper frequencies than we mere humans are capable of hearing. The ritualistic percussion of Vita lands with such certainty and inevitability that it marks the funeral march of the track’s namesake, whilst Urlo’s barked vocals carry the chaotic death knell of a galactic implosion. If a collapsing star were to carry a sound, this would surely not be far off.
Lastly comes the briefest track on the record, at just over three and a half minutes: “Vibrhate” takes little time in arresting attention with an insatiable groove that sustains throughout. With aggressive vocals and perpetually ascending guitar and synth lines, the track starts at 10 yet somehow supercedes itself with each rotation, becoming a vortex that could seemingly expand infinitely. In fact, with such a comparatively short runtime I must admit that I would gladly have allowed its swelling aura to wash over me for several more minutes.
Indeed the only weakness of this release is its relative brevity, artists of this ilk are often strongest when satisfying their indulgence, keeping the cogs turning rapidly to the point of exhaustion. One must ask however, is it truly a criticism to simply wish there was more? I, like many others, hope that Crookhead offers a taste of more to come in the close future, but for now at least it is 17 minutes of one of psych-doom’s foremost acts at their riveting best. Essential listening for all who worship the riff this year.