Fenice takes the standard Ufomammut template – psychedelic sludge doom – and makes it more introspective and creative. The band have tried a few new things across the album’s 38-minute duration, including greater use of synths, vocal styles, experimental sounds, and other effects. The core of the Ufomammut experience is alive and well, not to worry, but it now sounds revitalised, heavier, more direct, yet also more inward-looking. If you have enjoyed the band’s past output, you’re likely to enjoy this too.
Apparently the album was conceived as a single long song, which makes me wonder why it hasn’t been presented that way, instead of chopped up into six tracks. To be fair each track has its own distinct identity, but they are all definitely part of the same journey, and flow into each other naturally.
The album’s sound is clearer and has more room to breathe; Fenice does not sound as murky or as dense as much of Ufomammut’s previous work. The same can be said of the songs themselves, which have been given the space to expand to their fullest extent. The songs are still rampant with psychedelia, but the songwriting and delivery is more expressive and rich, and feels more post-metal in places. The band have focused on crafting atmosphere-focused mood-based soundscapes, and the music has achieved this quite impressively; a song like Metamorphoenix is a case study in how to craft a slow-building atmospheric piece that sounds like a soundtrack to something.
Fenice presents a new and vibrant vision of the Ufomammut sound. It is one that has worked well for the band, and Fenice is one of their most titanic, rich, and satisfying releases so far.
Very highly recommended.