An especially intense album by a famously intense band.

For the uninitiated, Ufomammut are Italian metal giants who specialize in the type of metal meant specifically to burst your eardrums and shake the foundations of the venues they play. They have been at it for over 15 years now, and are one of the more consistent and hardworking bands in the genre, having released an album every year or two since 2004's "Snailking". They are one of the few bands who are as good with subtlety as they are with writing bone jarring riffs.

Ecate sees them as heavy as ever. In true Ufomammut fashion, there are plenty of their patented repetitive doom riffs to go around, blended together with quiet, spacey passages, giving the songs a bit of texture and saving them from being overly samey. The songs here mix so well together, it really feels like a full album length track divided into sections.

The guitars are mixed very heavily to the front, but do not fully drown out too much of the other instruments, and are overdriven to a warm, fuzzy extreme. Thankfully, the keyboards do not suffer under the pounding guitar and drums, since this is a feature that has always defined this band; psychedelic throwbacks to bands like Yes, The Doors, and Iron Butterfly that spice up the savage doom.

The album takes a bit of a seasoned ear to sit through all at once, but the listener is rewarded quite well for it when the music ebbs, flows, and finally builds to an incredible crescendo with Daemon. A hypnotic riff not quite like any other on the record just flattens everything in its path and caps Ecate off quite well.

I can't call this a truly perfect album, but it is one that becomes more and more enjoyable as you listen, and works hard to prevent the wall of noise from being too daunting.