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Ok, so I have already reviewed their recent effort "The Destroyers Of All", and I figured out I needed to check some other stuff from them. So I went to the record store and bought this beauty for 8 euros. The shop owner told me that if I like Origin I'll also like this, as in "this is a technical death metal band". Well, they are indeed technical, but there is so much more than just that.
A warning to the fans who learnt about Ulcerate from "Everything is Fire" or "The Destroyers Of All": these two albums are very different from this one. Whereas this album has an amount of the creepy feeling their recent records feature, it's not moving in the same patterns.
The roles here are inverted, closer to the death metal standards, though exceeding them in terms of quality. There are more extremely brutal riffs and less drony dissonant chords. The band reminds me of a version of Necrophagist with less lead guitars. The leads, however, when present, are totally to the point, without any artistic exaggerations. My personal lead highlight is the ending mini-solo of "Subversive Supremacy". As for the riffs... They are all absolutely great.
The drumming is unexpectedly essential, too. It's giving the music a grim feeling similar to the one of their latest effort, but this is achieved via different ways. The peculiar use of the snare is what impressed me from the first listen. The guy uses the stick to hit the snare in different points, thus getting different sounds. The cool thing is that, whereas this could seem a little bit confusing, it makes the band's material even easier to follow, so much that I could even claim they're catchy - yet definitely not commercial or "pop-corn" death metal.
The bass is... bass. By that, I mean that in contrast to other technical bands, the bass doesn't play godlike-speed patterns which simply follow the riffs. The playing is exactly what you expect from a band that doesn't plainly copy Cynic: it determines the flow but doesn't interfere with the guitars. I have to admit that I usually don't pay much attention to the bass, so I can't say that it's one of the best things I've ever heard. But the album is definitely bassier (sic) than "...And Justice For All'.
Finally, the vocals. Ah, the vocals. The vocalist makes use of varied styles such as the grunt and the death growl, and he's pretty good. However, his voice was the only thing that bothered me about this compilation. The quality varies from song to song, but I guess that sometimes it's because of the production. In any case, it's not as though this is the worst vocalist I've ever heard. But I surely prefer their recent style.
Overall, this is a good choice if you like DEATH metal. I also guess you might find it cheap, as I did. If you do, and you don't know what to buy, this is a great choice. You'll enjoy this for sure. I did, at least.