Ufomammut / Morkobot / Slabdragger – London 06/10/2011

The Purple Turtle, London 06/10/2011

It’s all a bit chaotic down at The Purple Turtle tonight. Late to open and with support bands still gathering together bits of kit with which to actually play their sets, it takes a suddenly injected shriek of Judas Priest’s ‘Painkiller’ over the PA to actually feel that anything is going on at all.

Lurching straight into the 10-minute monolithic crunch of ‘Bab el -Mandeb’, it doesn’t take Slabdragger long to get into their furious rhythm. The Croydon-based sluggernauts feed off the crowd’s swelling mass of nodding heads to churn their way through pulverising monster riffs, prehistoric bass grooves and a thundering ride cymbal attack. With guitarist Sam Thredder annotating his own riffing with sickly sweet motifs they close out with the now signature game-over demolition that is ‘Iron Vulture’.

Back in position after a swift beer run and it’s time for something a little more unusual. Due to a bizarre miscommunication around support act availability, Necro Deathmort have pulled out of tonight’s show and so lead tour support Morkobot take straight to the stage. With just two bass players and a drummer who looks like he’s just downed his whole body-weight in speed, the trio divide opinion throughout tonight’s capacity audience. On the one hand, their Les Claypool-via-Meshuggah polyrhythmic ear-branding is fresh and unique and keeps many on their tiptoes with interest. But with a 45-minute set, the novelty does wear a little thin, with the stage show comprising little more than a flurried haze of fingers, as gloriously spazmodic as the drumming is. Nonetheless they get a huge applause from the clearly eager North London punters after hammering through the majority of new record ‘Morbo’.

But of course tonight was only ever going to be about Italian doom titans Ufomammut. Beautifully complimented by their stunningly psychedelic Malleus Rock Lab visuals, the threesome begin softly; forever building their layers of sonic majesty until it becomes a body-shaking apocalypse of textures. Despite having spent the past two years promoting the frankly life-changing ‘Eve’ experience, Ufo’ have never yet made it to London proper on this album run, and the fans drink it in like a fine wine connoisseur swilling a gloriously rich Rioja as they swivel and writhe through mesmerising pastures of noise. A couple of small technical hitches do mar song change-overs, but it barely matters as Urlo’s hypnotic vocals glide down as if passing through the stone ceiling of a cathedral after arriving from another dimension. I’m not sure any more how much this even constitutes doom, or even metal for that matter, as it’s become more than three impressively-honed beards playing guitar, bass and drums, and morphed into the weaving of a full tapestry of ambient pleasure.

Ufomammut once again have the swaying hoards in the palms of their hands and the only thing stopping them dispersing away into the cool evening breeze is a bounty-laden merch table. Stunning.

Pete also recently reviewed Morkobot’s latest album ‘Morbo’ which you can read HERE.

Scribed by: Pete Green