Ulcerate are “Confronting Entropy” with Vermis – Whatever that means
When a person uses the label “technical death metal” your first thought is most likely a band like Brain Drill i.e. lots of weedily guitar work at insane speeds. It’s often forgotten by many people that technical death metal actually began in a very different fashion. 2013 seems to be a strong year for the people who prefer its earliest incarnation, rather than the guitarist bravado obsessed landscape it has become, what with the return of Gorguts, with their new album Colored Sands [read our review here]. While Gorguts may well have come back to claim the throne that once belonged to them, there is another band who may have something to say about that.
Ulcerate are one of the few bands that have truly progressed the technical death metal template, leading some to call them “post death metal” along with a few other bands such as Mitochondrian. The New Zealand based trio became notorious for their extreme brand of death metal, combined with shoegaze elements that juxtaposed the more brutal elements, creating music that both pummelled and drifted introspectively. Ulcerate have been working on their fourth studio album, and first album since signing with Relapse Records, entitled Vermis and have promised that this would be their darkest and most crushing adventure yet.
They’ve just released the first taste from the album in the form of a song called “Confronting Entropy” and it seems that they have certainly upheld their promise. The music is oppressive, enveloping and absolutely devastating, but surprisingly relentless. Judging by this song alone it seems that the band have chosen to forego a lot of the more melodic atmospheric sections that they originally made their name on.
That’s not to say though that Ulcerate have failed to conjure an atmosphere here though, on the contrary actually; their new world is one of darkness, torture and the howling forces of agony. In short, there are no more optimistic passages of hope. Now, there is only hellish catharsis. Will Vermis obliterate us and allow Ulcerate take the technical death metal throne from Gorguts? Time will tell, but judging from this one song, they just might have it in them! Not that it matters, either way, technical death metal fans are in for a damn good year!
Vermins will be released on September 17th via Relapse Records. Pre-orders can be made here.