Monday, November 4, 2013

Album Of The Month, September 2013

Ulcerate: Vermis

I can't fully remember the first time I heard about Ulcerate, but the fact they originate from Auckland, New Zealand and play technical death metal grabbed my intention immediately. It is no secret that I have always had the utmost pleasure in finding metal from countries you wouldn't expect. A quick visit to my metal bible, The Metal Archives, and the answer reveals: currently there are close to 300 listed metal bands from those small islands!

Vermis is the band's fourth full length and the first under Relapse Records. The album has been mixed, recorded and mastered in New Zealand by the band's virtuoso drummer Jamie Saint Merat. If you are a fan of technical metal drumming you have probably heard of this man before. His style is fast, complex, complicated and arrhythmic. Listening to the album makes me think how the hell can this guy remember to play the songs exactly the same live? I mean there a numerous tempo shifts, fills and rhythms inside one single song! Other trademark the band has is the down-toned and distorted guitar sound which has often been compared to Deathspell Omega. The final cornerstone of the band is the bass player and singer Paul Kelland. He is really nasty, fearsome and convinces me in his growls that "leave me alone, I know what I am doing!".

It is no secret this is one of my most anticipated records this year. I made the preorder immediately when I heard the first song from this album: it was galaxy crumbling! Officially the album has been out about six weeks now and it only seems to get better the more I listen to it. One word of warning: Ulcerate craves a lot from the listener as the one liner choruses are totally missing, the songs clock usually over six minutes and when the song is over it is more complicated than five technical death metal albums put together! For me the trick is the shear and utter relentless, raw power and talent the band unleashes upon you. It is like an oncoming avalanche: you see it's approaching from the horizon and you prepared to run away but as it roars closer to you, you compelled to stand still and have it done its way to you.

I cannot simply pick one song for you to tryout: you have to hear this bulldozer from start to finish. It starts with a short intro like song Odium before gathering its full destructive power and by the time Vermis starts be prepared to be smashed to the ground! Gracious of them, Ulcerate gives you a brief two-minute break to get your act together with interludium Fall to Opprobrium until it finally crushes you like a meaningless, despicable, scum of the earth insect by finishing you with the closing trio. After 55 minutes there is one question I need to ask myself: the sound has now been perfected to level where a point of no-return has been reached, so how are they going to top this? I don't know, but I need to change my pants. Again.

Stream and buy this monster down below:

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