Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Thursday 5 May 2022

Review: Wo Fat, Tómarúm, Ufomammut, Sicksense (Reviews By Rich P & Matt Bladen)

Wo Fat - The Singularity (Ripple Music) [Rich P]

Wo Fat rule. I know that is not the most subjective way of starting out a review of their new album, The Singularity, but it is fact. Up to this point the have put together an almost perfect discography and a cult following within the heavy rock genre that generates all sorts of rabid fandom for the band from Dallas, Texas. Now, when you are so highly regarded, how do you continue to top what is already considered a masterpiece of a discography? How about putting out the seven amazing tracks found on their seventh full length, released by the mighty Ripple Music. Honestly whatever I write here will not do this album justice but let’s start with how it sounds. 

The production is perfect. Wo Fat has never sounded better, and the addition of more instrumentation (more bongos! Rhodes piano!) make their already amazing sound rip even more. All of this comes together perfectly on the track Overworlder, which I will stack against any previous Wo Fat track in their back catalog. The groove, the guitar work, the solo, the instrumentation, it’s all adding up to the perfect heavy blues/stoner rock track. Yes, it is twelve minutes long, but tell me that it doesn’t seem like five. There is nothing over bloated on The Singularity, even with the shortest of the seven tracks being just under eight minutes and three of the tracks in the double digits. The track The Unraveling is packed full of riffs and the up-tempo rocker just rips. I even find myself singing parts to myself (“suspicions confirm, it’s a fatal error” is both catchy and can be used routinely throughout my day). 

The Witching Chamber is a prototypical Wo Fat track in all the best ways: the riffs, the heavy groove, the ripping solo. All you would ask for and get from Wo Fat. The title track offers multiple tempo changes and more of those killer riffs to knock your head clean off. The closer, The Oracle, is seventeen minutes of absolute heavy blues rock jamming that will blow you away and is a perfect closer. These are just a few of the highlights. My words on a track-by-track review would not do this justice. Please get your hands on this to find out for yourself. The Singularity is a top tier band at their peak, which is something to behold. 

Wo Fat have released an absolute classic that will rank on top of their already amazing catalog. You may hear a gripe that it is too long, but there is nothing about this record that should have been edited or removed. Fans of the band could not ask for a more perfect release, and everyone who enjoys any kind of heavy music should immediately check this out. Album of the year front runner and absolute modern classic. 10/10

Tómarúm - Ash In Realms Of Stone Icons (Prosthetic Records) [Matt Bladen]

The Icelandic metal scene is something that is small but almost perfectly formed, much of it comes in the form of atmospheric extreme metal that draws heavily from the frozen vistas and the countries seemingly endless ennui. The Icelandic word Tómarúm translates to "empty space", and nails that beautiful fusion of melancholic soundscapes and fierce, progressive extreme metal. However Tómarúm do not hail from the frozen realm of Iceland, they are actually an American duo from Atlanta Georgia. Surprise!

Comprised of Kyle Walburn who gives guitars/vocals/programming and Brandon Iacovella who has guitars/vocals/contrabass, they are the core songwriting/performing duo for all of Tómarúm's music and they have already released one previous EP that established them as a band who need to be taken seriously in their talent. For the studio sessions on this album they tapped Spencer Moore of Inferni to get behind the kit and proceed to destroy it, as for the bass the twosome brought in Arran McSporran from Virvum playing lots of fretless bass, that is one of the main sonic elements on this record, the fretless bass playing reminiscent of the band Death as it features heavily on the title track and on In This Empty Space where there's even a bass solo.

There's a balancing act on this debut album that swaps between feeling mechanical and organic, the songs shifting through this record's hour long run time, combining a multitude of styles for a diverse recording. Though nearly all of the tracks feature some mind blowing solos, Where No Warmth Is Found coming in high on the list of the best six string bending, more effective also when put to the emotional synth and piano that is so present on the song. Ash In Realms Of Stone Icons is a record born of the need to "explore the mental void left by extreme emotional pain" continuing the bands' previous releases that deal with depression and loss. 

Now to try and nail down their musical style is difficult as there's a dense musical palette that brings together scorching technical death metal (In This Empty Space), volatile black metal (Condemned To A Life Of Grief) and those more vibrant, emotive atmospheres used to great effect on the intro/interlude Introspection I & II and the wonderful 16 minute final song Into Eternal Slumber where there's plenty of lush strings and deft acoustics, as well as virtuosic playing and a cathartic final few moments that close this magnificent album. 

I've mentioned sequencing in lots of reviews before, but here the record really benefits from the way it's sequenced, as the tracks were written in the order they appear here, meaning there's a continuity and flow to this musical journey as each song brings an extra element with every song building up to that epic climax. For a debut full length, Ash In Realms Of Stone Icons is absolutely astounding, a blackened technical death metal masterpiece. I'll urge anyone I can to listen to this record. 9/10     

Ufomammut - Fenice (Neurot Recordings) [Rich P]

Ufomammut are back for their ninth album of doomy psych sludgy goodness with Fenice. The Italian trio sound as strong as ever, but now incorporating even more synths and effects to take the psych leanings that they have always had to the next level, uplifting their already epic jams. The heavy is still there, but you also get the sense the band got in a room and just played, and this is what came out. The sense of improvisation throughout makes Fenice an even more interesting and exciting release in their already excellent catalog. 

Fenice opens with the instrumental jam Duat, which bring exactly what you expect to start this journey: stoner/psych jams with amazing instrumentation and those synths I called out earlier. The prominence of the synths adds another layer to Ufomammut’s trademark sound and works perfectly with the tracks on Fenice. Kepherer is a three-minute drone bridge that leads to the highlight of the album, Psychostasia. This seven-minute psych out is exactly what you want from these guys. A spacy, slow burn that will be on my song of the year list. You get vocals for the first time three tracks in, and they fit perfectly into this spaced-out jam and that holds your hand until about the five-minute mark where the sludgy crunch appears and rips your head off. 

 This leads us into Metamorphoenix, a synth forward seven-minute (in my opinion) Interlude, which does drag a bit but acts as a nice bridge to Pyramind, which is another stand out track on the record. I read that Fenice was originally going to be one long song, but I like the decision to break it up into individual tracks, but you can still get that one long composition experience from start to finish. Pyramind is the heaviest of tracks; a lumbering sludge fest that drags you through the mud on the way to your next-level consciousness. Empyros closes us with three minutes of sludgy goodness and ends the trip on a high and heavy note.

Fenice is a journey. It works well as a thirty-eight-minute piece or as stand-alone tracks. The synth forward approach works with Ufomammut’s style and is a welcomed addition to what the trio brings to the table. While it may drag a bit in the middle, the effort is worth it. Fenice is another strong addition to the already excellent Ufomammut discography. 8/10

Sicksense - Kings Today (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

There seems to be a revival of Nu-Metal lately, many bands have fully re-embraced that mix of driving grooves and rap vocals. Now many of us lived through the initial Nu-Metal scene, for better or worse. It burned very brightly as a scene but many of of the acts that were huge at that time seemed to fade away a little. However recently there has been a re-insurgence so I guess there's nothing like nostalgia, as Nu-Metal certainly seems to be starting to burn bright again. 

One of the big bands from that era are Stuck Mojo and their vocalist Robby J. Fonts brings his slick rapping to new band Sicksense. He's one of the two singers here, the other being his wife Vicky Psarakis of The Agonist, both also add harsh screams and Vicky goes soars with some cleans. It makes for an interesting listen, as the songs are written especially for the interplay between the two of them. Adding guitarist Breakdown Bran (Bran Panic), drummer The Trve Cody Taylor (Cody Taylor) and bassist Spot-On Sam/SOS (Samuel Bedard), to the band this EP features 5 tracks that blend the low heavy grooves of Korn, with the rap of Limp Bizkit adding some Gothic touches of Evanescence and Lacuna Coil. 

The EP is very traditional to the Nu-Metal sound, the husband and wife team wanted to show a different side to what they normally do so there's a fun element to this record but also a serious one where that deals with societal issues. If you lived through Nu-Metal and enjoyed it then you'll get a kick out of this, if you avoided it at all costs, perhaps not so much. Not much else I can say really. 6/10

No comments:

Post a Comment