Album: Stare Into Death and Be Still
Label: Relapse Records
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Country: New Zealand
Release Date: April 24th, 2020
For Fans Of: Fallujah, Nero Di Marte
Ulcerate are now six full records deep and are showing not a single sign of slowing down. With Stare Into Death and Be Still, Ulcerate are in their prime, delivering some of the most vile tunes you will hear all year. This new record is incredibly eerie, brutal, utterly hopeless, and is a true refinement of the sound that Ulcerate been perfecting throughout their career. If the disturbingly beautiful album artwork isn’t enough to instill some feelings of discomfort inside you, then hop on this one-way train to hell and let the music swallow you whole.
Throughout this absolute behemoth of a record, you’re going to find masterful drum fills and carefully orchestrated blast beats alongside the most sludgy, dissonant guitar riffs and chords and blood curdling screams. Ulcerate have their own distinct guitar writing style, that ultimately provides all the melody and dissonance. I honestly have trouble thinking of other bands that sound like them, as Ulcerate are truly in a league of their own with this seamless blend of technical death metal, atmospheric post metal, and sludge metal. Their writing style is unique in a way like how Fallujah have their unique atmospheric writing style, it’s just that Ulcerate didn’t lose their touch similar to how Fallujah did with their most recent record unfortunately. If you personally were disappointed with Fallujah’s latest effort and have been looking for something to fill that void in your soul, look no further, let Ulcerate’s warm embrace soothe all your qualms.
The cavernous vocals sound as if they’re quite distant, recorded on the other side of the room perhaps, yet they still are beyond powerful as they seem to resonate much more because of that. The drumming found on this record is easily the instrumental highlight on the entire record. The syncopation of the kick drums are so precise and calculated and ultimately adds a whole different dimension to this aural assault. The cymbal play is absolutely sublime, and I cannot help but become awestruck by that masterful performance. Tracks like The Lifeless Advance, Stare Into Death…, and Inversion for example have some truly infectious cymbal play that blows my mind beyond comprehension. I have always highly respected him as a drummer, but Jamie Saint Merat’s performance on this record blew my mind and propelled him up alongside some of my other favorite drummers. This is easily the metal drum performance of the year, there is no question.
If you didn’t think that only three people could compose such a dense, gloomy atmosphere as is heard on this record, think again. The soundscapes are so incredibly bleak and monumental that it is the equivalent of breathing in smoke, but for your ears. Despite having less minds and hands at their disposal, the songwriting is what truly makes this record something special as it is masterfully composed. The intro to the closer, Dissolved Orders, is such a great moment in which the band dial it back for a bit, allowing the two guitarists to play off one another to create this textured and vibrant soundscape alongside the subtle cymbal play just before all hell breaks loose. This part especially sounds so sinister, like what I would imagine experiencing the aftermath of our hypothetical apocalyptic world, although we may not be too far from that…
Stare Into Death… is one of those records where you don’t want to be rushed when listening to it in full as that takes away from the listening experience. You need to set the time aside so you can properly let the record fully engulf you, as it is quite long as a whole and the individual tracks progress quite slowly. This record is a perfect example of “you get out what you put in”, and if you are patient as you listen through, it will shake you to your core and leave a long last impression as hell breaks loose for the full 58 minutes this thing lasts. If you go in with the full intent of getting lost in the music, then you will most certainly be thrown in the endless abyss, never to return as the same person you once were.
No matter where you are, you are not safe from Ulcerate as they’re coming for your throat with Stare Into Death and Be Still. This record is so captivating that each and every moment has me eager to hear what is coming next as the madness ensues around me. This record is so unsettling and undeniably heavy, but the type of heaviness that it’s like being buried alive, rather than being hit by a bus. These guys have hit the brown note without actually hitting the brown note, and that is a testament to how eviscerating and effective the music truly is. No band other than Ulcerate could birth such a catastrophic record that is ultimately the soundtrack for the end of life as we know it.
- The Lifeless Advance
- Exhale the Ash
- Stare Into Death and Be Still
- There is No Horizon
- Visceral Ends
- Drawn Into the Next Void
- Dissolved Orders
Total Playing Time: 58:33