Godlike Snake

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Italians Ufomammut managed to tap into a pretty distinctive sound on their first album, 2000's Godlike Snake, conjuring a sludgy brand of space rock built upon a hypnotic rhythmic bedspring, filled with layered, cyclical guitar riffs and topped by echo-warped vocals emanating from what sounds like the depths of a neighboring galaxy. Or else, one can imagine they were trying to approximate what a volcanic eruption must sound like at close quarters. Top-notch songwriting was another matter, however, as molten concoctions like ominous opener "UFO, Pt. 1" and the loping "Zerosette" either remained too hazy and vague in their outlines to properly discern or, in the case of "Satan" (a seeming rewrite of Monster Magnet's "Dopes to Infinity," only covered in distorto-fudge), still proved a tad too derivative of the band's influences. But, among the notable exceptions,"Oscillator," though far too brief, added a surprisingly mellow organ section to go along with its deliberate, rolling advance; "Smoke" latched onto and then built upon a mighty-ass groove on its way to a far-out feedback flight; and coming up with 20 minutes' worth of surprisingly entertaining subsonic jamming for colossal closer "Hozomeen/Mammut" must be considered an achievement in itself. Along with the bulk of Godlike Snake, it showed that Ufomammut were fine-tuning their vision, and this, along with the four-year gestation that followed, would help make their sophomore opus, Snailking, an unmitigated triumph. [Beard of Stars Records' reissue of Godlike Snake features a bonus video clip of the lysergic song "Where?"]