Review: Ufomammut ‘Hidden’

Having reviewed and loved The Mon‘s 2023 album Eye, my appetite was thus whetted for Ufomammut‘s latest release Hidden. The Italian trio features that project’s Urlo on bass, vocals, FXs and synths, Poia on guitars and FXs and new(ish) drummer Levre, who replaced founding member Vita in 2021.

Ufomammut 'Hidden' Artwork
Ufomammut ‘Hidden’ Artwork

Formed in 1999, Hidden is Ufomammut‘s latest (eleventh, twelfth? I’ve lost count…) full-length and their third to feature Levre following last year’s Crookhead EP and 2022’s Fenice. Although I’ve always had an awareness of, and fondness for the band, I had yet to review their work, until now.

We learn from the promotional notes that the album’s title ‘reflects the concept of the presence of everything in our existence and the ability to bring to light what lies within us’. This is borne out further by the brilliant psychedelic artwork that has been supplied once again by Malleus Rock Art Lab of which Poia and Urlo are a part of. After all this pre-amble, the key question is, is it any good? Let’s see…

Crookhead features a short sputtering electronic intro before the crushing weight of the band’s trademark psych influenced sludge metal comes to the fore. The version here is weightier with a more aggressive bite than heard on the aforementioned Crookhead EP. It brought to mind moments of Down, albeit if that band were more inclined towards Hawkwind than Black Flag, there’s also a murky grunge sound ala Nirvana’s Bleach (of all things). Whatever your interpretation, it’s still a fantastic way to open the record.

Kismet, Yiddish for chance or fate, has a hypnotic Middle Eastern vibe with interesting industrial tinges that remind me of Killing Joke around the time of Pandemonium. There is also some sludgy noise-rock present, recalling the likes of Melvins, Karp and Big Business as well as more contemporary outfits such as Ghost:Hello, elements which, when combined, make yet another spellbinding piece.

a truly intriguing listen from Italy’s finest…

Spidher, the album’s shortest track at just over four minutes, is somewhat punchier, reminiscent of what may have been heard on earlier records such as Godlike Snake. The band was rejuvenated following the member change and man alive, this track is a demonstration of that fact. To paraphrase the Scorpions, it rocks you like a hurricane.

From the album’s shortest track to its longest, Mausoleum is an epic monster at nearly eleven minutes. There’s a little more prog injected here, though thankfully it’s not of the daft whimsical variety pioneered by the likes of Yes, Gentle Giant and Genesis. In this context, progressive means less immediate, taking you on a sonic journey from which you may never return. As a result, it may take a couple of listens to engage with, however with a good deal of patience and perseverance I guarantee it’ll be more than worth it.

Having raised Karp earlier, a band who made quite an impact on me ever since I first heard them, I couldn’t help but notice similarities in Leeched to Dueling Banshees from that band’s Mustaches Wild debut full-length. Ufomammut are for the most part a relatively serious band with some largely intellectual high-brow concepts and themes, however, this track sees a fun, looser side to their musical cannon. Soulost concludes Hidden on a mellower note and reminds one of the blissful atmospherics of The Mon with drone and ambient passages employed liberally throughout. Absolutely beautiful.

Ufomammut‘s latest was far more experimental and diverse than I was expecting. This undoubtedly resulted in a truly intriguing listen from Italy’s finest and possibly their best work in a long time. Stunning.

Label: Neurot Recordings | Supernatural Cat
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills