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A friend gave this to me as a birthday present and I felt the need to review this. I have to admit that I hadn't heard of Ulcerate until I read about them and their uncompromising new effort titled "The Destroyers of All". I read that this album is one of the most original death metal records that have come out lately. I don't know if I agree. That is, because it's not purely death metal.
It's something new. No, it's not post-death metal. "Altars of Madness" was not post-thrash metal. The blasts are there. The growls are there. The haunting atmosphere is there. What is it that makes it different? The way that this band explores their art.
I already explained that they incorporate typical elements of death metal such as the growl and the blast. But, instead of riffs, these guys mostly make use of drony and dissonant chords. There is an ambient feeling throughout the album, and it's not like you'll get past the emotional intensity Ulcerate's music features. I sometimes had the impression that these people don't distort their guitars as much as one would expect from a death metal band, but since they're actually not a death metal band, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Initially, you might think that what they play is complete nonsense. Once you get past the complexity though, you'll be 100% rewarded.
The rhythm section is also a key element on this one, probably more than on a usual death metal release. The bass adds to the aforementioned ambience, multiplying it a hundred times. The way the bass fits with the drumming patterns and the guitar parts is just what I want on my death metal but find it only once in a blue moon, which is, bass you can hear easily but does not draw your attention away from the other instruments, as in Cynic's efforts for example.
The drumming, in one word is intense. By intense, I don't mean fast or heavy. I mean that there is a sense of emotional intensity into it. Sometimes it reminds me of Immolation, sometimes it reminds me of Porcupine Tree. The patterns flow smoothly, from extremely heavy blastbeats to jazzy motifs. Don't expect to figure out the rhythms immediately, you'll fail, unless you're a professional musician. There is an a certain eerie feeling behind every single hit of the snare, the bass drum, the tom drums and the cymbals, which, once again, contributes to the overall darkness.
Ulcerate is bound to be compared to Gorguts, Deathspell Omega, Portal or Mitochondrion, but, since all those bands are great, everyone should be pleased.
Overall, if you like ambient music, dark music, blast beats, death growls, dissonances and sick song structures, do a favor to yourself and check this out. I can't give this album an 100% because since I don't own "Of Fracture and Failure" and "Everything is Fire" I'm not completely into the band, I don't know their overall viewpoint on extreme music. I'm sure that I'l like the other 2 full lengths, too, though, since a band which makes a record as great as this, doesn't have many possibilities of releasing something shitty. Total respect for this one!