(Supernatural Cat 2008)Ufomammut - Idolum

It's hard out here for a reviewer. As the resident metal guy, I get a lot of stuff that begs to be called "crushing" or "heavy." But I, and the rest of my ilk, don't want to sound repetitive or boring, so we do our best to come up with clever ways of getting around having to say those two words. Bands like Ufomammut don't make it easy though; their psychedelic sludge metal practically begs for the overuse of the aforementioned descriptors. So please, just this once, indulge me. In the interest of taking the easy way out, let me just say that "Idolum" is crushingly heavy.

The bones of "Idolum" are similar to Isis' "Celestial." But where Isis built their monster out of wires and circuitry, Ufomammut constructed theirs out of roots and clay. If "Celestial" is a robot, than "Idolum" is a golem. And it's this organic nature of the music that allows for some interesting wrinkles in what could otherwise been a typical effort. "Ammonia," for example, is wonderfully sluggish and dreamy, while a spectral guest vocal performance from Rose Kemp easily elevates it to the album standout. "Void…Elephantom" lets itself play out over nearly half an hour, shifting from snarling buildup to flatlining void to purposeful groove in a way that should feel forced but doesn't. The fluidity within each of the songs keeps "Idolum" from sounding formulaic or contrived.

So yeah, "Idolum" is a monstrously heavy (damn it!) chunk of doom-laced, churning guitar gruel. But there has to be substance to the weight, and fortunately Ufomammut have a handle on this. As drawn out as some of the riffs on this album are, they're just catchy enough not to turn the songs into total snoozers. Here's to an album that's good for both listening enjoyment and rampant hyperbole.


buy it!