Ulcerate are one of the few bands that can honestly claim to have invented a genre. (Well, a subgenre at any rate.) Blending equal parts atmospheric sludge and technical death metals, the freaky Kiwis sparked a huge following of bands eager to try the same thing. And though they haven't really changed their style much over the years, no one's denying that they're doing it the best. If you have any doubt about this band's talent, one listen to their latest release, Vermis, will dispel those concerns.
While it's easy to describe their music as "post-metal meets tech death" and be done with it, it's not readily apparent from that description how the music actually manifests itself. So, to clarify, Ulcerate's music is focused in medium-length compositions (six to eight minutes), utilizing mid-range tempos that can serve for both frantic blast beats and, in half time, drawn-out melodies. The result are compositions that seem unbalanced and misdirected, and yet somehow resolve into coherent, effective wholes. And we're not talking songs that merely work; everything Ulcerate does is of an impeccable level of quality, meaning the songs on Vermis are not just acceptable, but actually great. They carry an unusually strong presence about them, due in no small part to how Ulcerate have utterly perfected their craft, having worked and tweaked this same aesthetic their whole careers.
Actually, that's also the main strike against the album; Vermis is the same stuff they've been doing for a decade now. And while that may be preferable than wavering too far to the post-metal side (as they did with their last album, The Destroyers of All), it does sound a bit like the band is stagnating. Granted, none of that is to say that Vermis is bad--more so than most, Ulcerate are dedicated to perfection in their music, and nothing about this album ever feels stale. But it is often unsurprising and unchallenging to the listeners who have grown with the band, and coming from a band of Ulcerate's reputation, it's hard not to feel like they could've challenged themselves a bit more than they did.
But of course, Ulcerate's minor missteps are once-in-a-career moments for weaker acts, and no one can deny that they are still a force to behold. Metal fans everywhere should know the name of this band, and if nothing else, Vermis will cement the band's legacy as one of the finest technical death metal bands to grace the world with its presence. Make sure to hear this one.
Recommended if you like: Nero di Marte, Anata, Rosetta
8.5 / 10
Posted March 16, 2015, 10:48 a.m.
Ulcerate have announced shows in their native New Zealand as well as Australia this April-June. The death metal band's tour i sdubbed "Australaisa MMXV" and includes 7 total live ...
Posted Aug. 15, 2014, 7:51 a.m.
New Zealand death emtal trio Ulcerate, who recenlty toured North America, have scheduled a European tour for later this winter--the Confronting Entropy European Tour MMXIV. The band last released Vermis ...
Posted Feb. 4, 2014, 10:26 a.m.
Structured around their appearance at this year’s Maryland Deathfest, New Zealand death metal trailblazers Ulcerate will embark on a month-long tour of North America. It will be the outfit ...
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