Ufomammut, Usnea, Bloodiest, Cokegoat | Reggies’ Rock Club | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Ufomammut, Usnea, Bloodiest, Cokegoat 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., May 13, 7 p.m. 2015
Price: $20, $17 in advance
“Immersive” isn’t a big enough word for Ufomammut. These Italian psychedelic-doom sorcerers play narcotically heavy, tail-swallowing grooves that propel you through the incandescent arteries and throbbing chambers of a cosmic cardiopulmonary system. The magma-thick riffs recirculate hypnotically, with the thunderous heartbeat of the drums and the roaring, detonating vortices of the guitars often driven by two distinct metabolisms. The vocals confuse the question of whether this trip is through inner space or outer darkness—sometimes they whisper and murmur like an occult presence infiltrating your skull, and at others they howl and chant like bestial priests, their distant cries often processed into iridescent gales of noise. Curtains of electronic keyboard glisten and sizzle like diabolical aurora, and even the ambient interludes simmer with vast and obscure life rather than discharge the tension built by the music’s inexorable spiraling orbits. This spring’s Ecate (Neurot), the band’s ninth studio full-length (if you count 2012’s Oro: Opus Primum and Oro: Opus Alter as two), makes liberal use of Ufomammut’s best trick: a cycling pattern whose bone-simple rhythms and black-hole blocks of distortion elude easy grasp by cunningly slipping in and out of phase with each other. The nearly 11-minute “Chaosecret” opens with the drums in nine-beat phrases and the guitars in 12, and the slippage between the two keeps the part engrossing for the four solid minutes it repeats. The ur-example of this technique, though, remains “Oroborus” from Opus Alter—its evil anaconda of a riff uses paired groups of seven and eight pulses that shift on or off an implied 4/4 downbeat with each loop, gathering heat and density till the song ignites like the nuclear furnace of a newborn star. This is only Ufomammut’s third trip across the Atlantic in their 16 years together, so don’t count on another chance to see these amplifier-abusing space wizards in the flesh. —Philip Montoro
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