The Destroyers of All
posted on 2/2011 By:
"Buzz" is an odd word. It can refer to a type of dissonant sound that one generally associates with annoyance, as in the buzzing of flies (see Ghostbusters II for reference), or it can have a sociological use, referring to the social chatter of a particular population growing from the anticipation of a future event. I came across Ulcerate on a certain message board and decided to see why people were so excited about this new record. I found that Ulcerate has been generating buzz since the release of their debut full-length Of Fracture and Failure in 2007, but with The Destroyers of All, the band has shown they are now more than ever a force to be reckoned with and well worthy of the hype. 'Buzz' might also describe something about Ulcerate’s sound, but instead of causing annoyance, Ulcerate has succeeded in bending a chainsaw-like cacophony into some of the most original death metal I’ve heard in years.
The Destroyers of All is a dense, satisfying foray into death metal’s future, where brutality is secondary to explorations of harmonic dissonance and the creation of atmosphere. This is not to say that Ulcerate is in completely new territory, but the New Zealanders seem to be interested in addressing the transcendentally evil nature of death metal, a project that might also describe the work of Morbid Angel or Immolation. Like Immolation, Ulcerate writes riffs with a melodic sensibility that defies the listener’s expectations and, in a certain way, demands the listener rethink his or her understanding of melody and harmony, but a more accurate comparison of their sound would probably land somewhere between Dead Congregation and Psycroptic. Necessary band comparisons aside, Ulcerate has a sound that is entirely their own.
Average track length on The Destroyers of All is somewhere around seven minutes, and each song is comprised of top-notch drumming that anchors riffs which play dizzying games with subtly layered dissonant harmonies run through what I’m guessing is an array of delay and reverb pedals. Opening track “Burning Skies” begins quietly but erupts shortly thereafter into blast beats and a killer opening riff. Generally speaking, this is cause for celebration, but there are at least twenty more great and unique riffs on the album. These are dispersed evenly throughout the songs, but “Cold Becoming” might have the highest density of awesome riffs. Above I said that brutality comes second behind dissonance and atmosphere, but let me be clear: Ulcerate sits comfortably next to, say, Severed Savior, Disgorge, or Deeds of Flesh and will satisfy even the most stalwart fan of brutal death metal. Brutality aside, for the patient listener, the middle section of the titular concluding opus “The Destroyers of All” has Ulcerate demonstrating that they also know the aural definition of heavy, after which, in striking counterpoint, they patiently and tastefully (and quietly) close out the album. Compared to the bands I just mentioned, this use of dynamics, among other things, helps Ulcerate stand out far ahead of the pack.
My only real criticism is that songs packed with such quantities of vertigo-inducing riffs and atypical melodies begin to bleed into one another, but this is of minimal concern here. Where normally this might seriously detract from a group of songs, Ulcerate knows exactly when to put on the brakes, play with the dynamics, or introduce a relatively straightforward part that brings the listener back from the edge of the abyss. “Beneath”, for example, is a mostly mid-paced meditation on themes established in earlier songs, giving Ulcerate a chance to show that they can kick a sick brutal groove. But what I mean to say is this: The Destroyers of All demonstrates true artistry by striking a balance between a diversity of elements, including some top-tier instrumental talent, and if you like death metal, you would be a fool not to give it a spin.
Register to post comments.
Everything Is Fire
The Coming Of Genocide (Reissue)
Of Fracture And Failure