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Alright then, I figure it's high time I got an album review done, seeing as just about everyone else has done one but me. A few days ago I got a hold of Ulcerate's new album The Destroyers of All, and after giving the whole thing a listen I believe I can accurately sum up the experience in three words: spacey... as... fuck. From the minute the opening track "Burning Skies" kicks in after an incredibly ominous audio intro, to the fading final moments of the closing title track, every second of this album is absolutely smothered in atmosphere.
In all honesty, this is more of a drum- and vocal-driven album, because the guitar tracks can barely even be referred to as "riffs". In lieu of any discernible harmonies, the majority of Michael Hoggard's guitarwork is a seemingly endless barrage of eerie, dissonant-yet-ambient chord progressions, and while it does get a bit taxing after too long, I do think it's a very clever approach, because it causes you to pay more attention to the other instruments. Good thing too, because Jamie Saint Merat is a monster on the skins. If the sluggish, almost doom-like guitar doesn't do it for you, fret not, because the drums are almost the exact opposite. Blast beats, consistent, lightning-quick double bass and a fair helping of jazzy beats and fills are abound in The Destroyers of All, leaving no one doubting that this is indeed a brutal death metal band. A very experimental brutal death metal band, but a brutal death metal band nonetheless. Combined with Paul Kelland's impressive growls and dark, misanthropic lyrics ("With blind eyes turned from daylight, we deny. With blind eyes turned from the glare of being, loathe that which we are"), Ulcerate have found a genuinely unique sound that perfectly straddles the line between doom and straight-up death metal.
In the end, The Destroyers of All is a very solid album, but to be brutally honest, because of its droning atmosphere and exhausting playing time (almost an hour long with only seven songs), it doesn't have much replay value. It's the perfect album get stoned to and blast at high volume in the background while you go do something else (or even when trying to fall asleep, but that might lead to some freaky-ass dreams), but as far as actually sitting through it just for the sake of listening to it, this probably wouldn't be my first choice. It's a good album from a very talented band, just don't expect to be able to tell any of the songs apart.
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