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Salutations denizens of the void! With our latest episode, we bring to you the powerhouse that is Ulcerate, bearing a welcomed gift of brutal death metal. Within their sixth album Stare Into Death and Be Still, complex layers of death metal are infused with atmosphere as well as blackened progressive prowess. Although I am not drenched in their discography, this is believed to be a breakthrough in sound for the band. They shed claustrophobia and dissonance in favor of melodic grooves and swelling power.
At times I found myself at a loss for words while listening to this beast of a release. I reached into the crawl space in which my brain usually dwells and found it hard to describe the rich, masterfully-displayed instrumentals. In concept, the album touches on the unfortunate experience of observing death in an unhurried manner: death is not always sudden, and therefore it can be hard to watch the slow suffering. Despite these depressing themes, Ryan and I were able to paint vivid and interesting visions in the music such as necromancer warlords commanding vast legions, or immense chunks of land terraformed in front of our very eyes. For some odd reason, I found it to work as a nice soundtrack for massive medieval war games. (I never fail to drop a couple nerdy references in this podcast!)
The New Zealand trio (how the hell do they craft such a massive sound with only three members?) originally formed as Bloodwreath in 2000, before re-branding themselves as Ulcerate in 2002. With several lineup changes here and there, they have slain away for nearly two decades. They continue to show unbelievable musicianship as they sharpen and reforge their death metal craft with each release. I especially enjoyed Paul Kelland’s powerful vocals in this album; it sounded as if he could harness the attention of the universe with his deep commanding growls. Jamie Saint Merat’s drum work had my jaw drop in awe at many points with every listen–like a mace across the face, he left me dazed with pummeling talent. All the while Michael Hoggard caught my guitar-loving heed. His ability to craft progressive grooving melodies as well as extreme harsh riffs is astonishing. The contrast of violent instrumentals over calming atmospheres caught me off guard at points too. Overall the production quality is flawless, and captures the robust emotions the artists exhibit efficiently.
Death is something every human must experience, and I think Ulcerate sonically expressed that personal concept well. Thank you so much for tuning in.
Note from Ryan: I recently received a rather unfortunate medical diagnosis this past week and, as a result, I need to step away from writing for a handful of months. In the meantime, both Connor and Woody will be penning the podcast write-ups so I can manage my mental health during this period. I want to sincerely thank both of them for picking up the metaphorical torch and carrying the website forward as I deal with this diagnosis. Much love to both of them, and to all of you that have supported us over the years.
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Check the album out on Ulcerate’s Bandcamp page, where you can purchase a limited edition double gold vinyl or digipack CD (as of this episode’s release, there may not be many left), or go digital. They also have some pretty sweet merch to check out! You can find out more about Ulcerate on their Official Website and Facebook page. Stare Into Death and Be Still was released in late April 2020 by Debemur Morti Productions.
If you’d like to support us beyond listening to our podcast, you can do so by becoming a patron on our Patreon page. There you can read all of our notes for each album review episode we publish, gain early access to every episode before its official release, and acquire an embroidered From Corners Unknown patch, button, and stickers if that’s your thing.
Next episode we are joined by our childhood friend Dilly once again. In it, we unhinge ourselves with tilted pirate hats and blunderbusses ready at the hip as we descend into Davy Jones’ locker to unpack Alestorm’s Curse of the Crystal Coconut.