Ufommamut at The Underworld, London

Support: Gravelines| Mammoth Weed Wizard bastard
November 4, 2016 at The Underworld, London

If there is any proof needed that sub-genres can also evolve then tonight’s bill of Ufomammut and Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard are fine examples to support such a claim. The former having been leaders of carving out their own niche of bridging intense sludge/doom metal with the possibilities of adding synths and samples while the latter, not meaning to add any extra heavy weight of responsibility onto their shoulders, are showing enormous signs of being able to carry the torch for purveyors’ of extremely heavy progressive trippy psych doom. So while bonfire night is looming, tonight proves to be a sound explosion to feast on in the heart of a Friday night in Camden.

Thankfully on hearing at the nearby Our Black Heart pub that Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard are going to be on stage at an earlier time, by some 20 minutes than originally listed, enabled me to witness a band progressing at an incredible rate. Promoting their recently released excellent second album Y Proffwyd Dwyll, which due to the band’s newfound opportunity to expand their sound, sees Jessica Bell now behind the keyboards engaging in Moog twiddling.

They create a thick robust doom, which is as punchy as a jack hammer. Dave powers his crunchy guitar chops with his back mainly turned away from the audience, but conveys an image of a commander in chief orchestrating the tempo and rhythm of the band in unison with James Carrington, as he thumps his drum kit. Jessica’s vocals initially were lost in the surrounding dense intense noise before being turned up to provide the ethereal quality, which is so essential to what makes then such an exciting prospect, as expertly delivered on their records.

This all adds up to an astonishing leap forward both in terms of their progression in sound as well as on their performance since seeing them at the Doom Over London festival at the beginning of this year. It can now be strongly argued that the sheer quality of their music is now primarily the headline, relegating their attention grabbing band name to a mere footnote at the bottom of the page. In one word: immense.

The potentially dangerous act of following Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard falls to Grave Lines who are performing for only their fourth gig. It is a mighty credit to them that they bely the performance of newbies and shed any signs of nervousness by putting sheer guts into their show. Fronted by a vocalist looking like a recently rescued Robinson Crusoe sees him flitting between two microphones; one placed at the usual middle and front of stage, while the other strategically positioned in the middle is a nuanced stagecraft touch. Their riffy mid-tempo sludgy-ish grooves show promise and are a welcome addition to the scene.

Headliners Ufomammut’s inclusion of a visual element to the show with trippy graphics enhances the spectacle, but nothing can outdo the scale of their sound as it is quite staggering, comparable to a musical equivalent of a cinematic widescreen experience. It is so huge, it seduces and wraps itself around you like a cosy cloak so you are so totally absorbed that you re-awake from a trance like inducement, in-between songs, to realise parts of your body have been unconsciously in motion in time with the tempo. Taking a brief glance around the crowd there is plenty of proof you are not alone in being drawn into their incredible power and stunning sound.

And for a band who have been in existence for seventeen years, still maintain a passion for their music as demonstrated by the band’s energetic display and overt enjoyment. In fact, they are in blistering form right now, an impressive performance to round off an incredible night of effect pedals heaven.

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