Jun 272016

Ulcerate-Zhrine-Phobocosm tour


I don’t do a very good job posting about new tour announcements, even when I’m really excited about them. But I’m REALLY excited about this one, and happened to have a few free minutes to help spread the word.

The name of the tour is Shrines of Paralysis, and that’s a well-chosen name because the tour is headlined by New Zealand’s Ulcerate and will also include Iceland’s Zhrine and Montreal’s Phobocosm. And that is one hell of a line-up.

Several of my NCS comrades and I had the pleasure of seeing both Zhrine and Phobocosm at this year’s edition of Maryland Deathfest, and both were among the true highlights of the festival (as discussed here and here, with photos). In addition, the most recent releases of both bands are outstanding (see our review of Phobocosm’s Bringer of Drought here and our premiere of one of the new Zhrine songs here). Continue reading »

Oct 162015



(Andy Synn attended the performances of Ulcerate, Bell Witch, and Ageless Oblivion in Nottingham, England, on October 11 and turns in this report, with his own videos of the show.)

Though my erstwhile compatriots may have been attending the sun and shenanigans of California Deathfest without me last weekend (seriously, where was my invite? I thought we were friends!?!) that doesn’t mean that yours truly was without suitably metallic diversions of my own, as I was lucky enough to bear witness to the titanic Death Metal maelstrom known as Ulcerate rolling through my town, leaving a trail of shattered lives and lacerated ear-drums in its wake.

The story gets even better though, as the New Zealend three-piece were accompanied on their pilgrimage of pain by gloom-heavy doomsters (and perennial NCS darlings) Bell Witch and uber-riff-mongers Ageless Oblivion (whose album Penthos I picked as one of my absolute favourite releases of last year).

Not only that but the venue they played, The Chameleon, is the sort of intimate, DIY place that packs a lot of character, and a frankly massive soundsystem, into a very small space, meaning there’s nowhere to hide from the overwhelming onslaught of sonic punishment unleashed by the bands.

You know how an explosion that occurs in an enclosed space is ten times more devastating than one that occurs out in the open? Well that sums up the night quite nicely. Continue reading »

Jan 222015

quilts made of metal shirts by Ben Venom

(Here’s an opinion piece by Andy Synn.)

It seems like we often (and deservedly) praise bands for having a multitude of influences, for having a multi-faceted and varied sound, for achieving synthesis of diverse and disparate elements and using them to create a unique core identity for themselves. Heck, one of the key ways (although far from the only way) in which Metal progresses is by incorporating new sounds and influences, new styles, into the core genre, so it’s not surprising that we often laud those bands who bring something new, something fresh and exciting to the table.

After all, lack of breadth and variety in a band’s influences often does tend to lead to repetition and stagnation. If your band is happy to describe yourselves as “like Meshuggah” for example, then it’s odds-on that you’re probably just going to sound like a lesser-copy of the Swedish cybernauts. Just as if you’re a Thrash band and your only influences are other Thrash bands – and usually that means going back to the same tapped-out well as every other band – it becomes less and less likely that you’ll be pushing the genre forward, rather than simply rehashing or reworking what’s gone before (not, let me add, that there’s always anything intrinsically wrong with that).

Yet we also have to be careful about praising bands with too many influences wholesale. It’s certainly possible for bands to go overboard with their disparate influences and styles, and end up a directionless mish-mash of bits and pieces of other bands, which never really cohere into a greater whole.

But that’s not the only potential problem bands face when trying to weave together their influences and inspirations… Continue reading »

Feb 042014

I was separated from the interhole for most of yesterday and therefore missed a lot of breaking news. While attempting to catch up, one of the first things to catch my eye was the tour flyer you see above, waiting patiently in my in-box like a viper ready to strike. To spell it out, New Zealand’s Ulcerate will embark upon the Vermis North America MMXIV tour beginning in Los Angeles on May 1 and finishing with an appearance at Maryland Deathfest on May 25.

That’s tremendously exciting news, but it gets even better, because Virginia’s Inter Arma will be along for the ride on most of the dates. They will join the tour in Philadelphia on May 9 and continue until the final date  before MDF.

This is Ulcerate’s first appearance in North America since their 2012 appearance at MDF. The entire schedule can be seen after the jump, and I’ve also included album streams for the band’s 2013 album Vermis as well as Inter Arma’s Sky Burial. Both of those albums were among my favorites of 2013. This promises to be one crushing tour. Continue reading »

Oct 242013

(In this post, NCS writer DGR reviews the latest album by New Zealand’s Ulcerate.)

Ulcerate were one of those bands who for a long time had a firm spot on my metal radar, but I never really got around to checking them out. The group got my attention around the time of their Willowtip release Everything Is Fire, mostly because I’ve always tried to keep up with that label after they gifted us with Arsis’ first couple of releases in the early aughts. However, where Ulcerate really made their impression was with Destroyers Of All, which it seemed like I listened to at first by gunpoint, with every metal listener I knew screaming from the mountaintops about it.

Destroyers Of All was a massive disc, a gargantuan, lumbering beast that you don’t really hear in death metal outside of the Polish scene or the more doom-oriented bands, yet Ulcerate had created an album that made me picture the band as one of the few who would be playing when the apocalypse happened. There was such a cavernous sound on display that it pretty much became an unspoken rule that anything the group did henceforth would be hotly anticipated. And so, as the group geared up to put out their 2013 release Vermis, I disconnected from most press outlets in a desire to go in somewhat unspoiled.

The album has been out in the world for a month at this point, and the reason that we’re only now getting around to a review is because Vermis is a dense, dense album. It feels like a brother to Destroyers Of All but with a bigger emphasis on the doom atmosphere. While the group had already been making long songs, Vermis extended them into the hopeless territory, with the listener being dragged almost unwillingly behind the band. It makes Vermis a difficult and challenging album to fight through, yet it is also one of the most intense experiences released this year. Continue reading »

Sep 102013

Painstakingly selected from among the detritus that litters the interhole and the NCS in-box, here are items of interest that appeared over the last 24 hours.


If you need more darkness in your life — and who doesn’t? — then you should listen to Vermis, the new death metal monstrosity by New Zealand’s Ulcerate. The album won’t be released in North America until September 17 (a day earlier in the UK and September 13 in certain European countries), but yesterday Metal Sucks began hosting an exclusive stream of the album. Ulcerate are one of those rare death metal bands who are pushing (or dragging) the genre in new directions. The music of Vermis is harrowing and inhuman, but it exerts a powerful attraction. You should hear it.

THIS is the link for the stream.


The new Carcass album, which we reviewed here, is due for release on September 16. I have a feeling that anyone interested in hearing the new Carcass album has already heard it, but just in case, it’s now streaming in full, too. Nuclear Blast has uploaded the entire album to YouTube. Obviously, it’s one of the biggest releases of 2013, and it also happens to be a fine album. You can hear it next.  (thanks Daniel for the tip) Continue reading »

Aug 012013

The new album by New Zealand’s Ulcerate is entitled Vermis. It’s due for release by Relapse on September 17 in North America and on somewhat earlier dates elsewhere. It’s one of our most highly anticipated releases of the year. And late yesterday, the album’s first advance track became available for listening.

“Confronting Entropy” sounds like the warring of alien behemoths on some distant, poisonous planet during an earthquake while a meteor strike is in progress. The sound is massive, with huge, catastrophic riffs, squalling, shrieking guitar leads, and earth-splitting percussion. It’s tumultuous avant garde death metal with teeth. Check it out next (I’m including both the YouTube and Soundcloud streams for the hell of it).

(Vermis can be pre-ordered here. Ulcerate’s web site is at this location.)

Continue reading »

Jul 122013

Here’s a collection of items I saw and heard yesterday while surveilling the interhole. The featured bands are Ulcerate (New Zealand), Twilight of the Gods (multinational), Craven Idol (UK), Cryptopsy (Canada), and Evoken (US), .


The new album from New Zealand’s Ulcerate has been high on our “most anticipated” list for this year, and yesterday finally brought a lot of fresh news. The title of the album is Vermis, it includes 9 tracks, it’s nearly 55 minutes long — and it will be released by Relapse on September 17 in North America (September 13 in Germany and the Benelux countries and September 16 in the rest of the world). Pre-orders for the album and related merch are being fielded at this location. You can see the newly unveiled album cover above.

Yesterday also brought a video teaser for Vermis. It includes just an itty-bitty, teenie-weensie snippet of music, but it was enough to rattle my teeth. I think, just to be safe, I’ll make a dental appointment for the day after I get my hands on this album. The teaser is next. Continue reading »

Oct 092012

Here are a few items of interest I saw between yesterday and today that I thought were worth throwing in your general direction. Catch!


A Frail Becoming, the new album by North Carolina’s Daylight Dies, is being officially released today by Candlelight Records. It’s very, very good. I hope we will have a review soon, because the album deserves whatever we can do to help spread the word.

The latest song to be released for streaming is the album’s fourth track, “Dreaming of Breathing”, which is the subject of a music video directed by Ramon Boutviseth that debuted yesterday. It’s a beautifully filmed video, and the narrative portion suits the moody, dreamlike ambience of the music, while the band footage suits all the thundering that Daylight Dies do so well in their doom-influenced brand of melodic death metal.

Check it out next . . . Continue reading »

Dec 072011

I discovered a French band called Svart Crown more than a year ago when I reviewed their second albumWitnessing the Fall. I compared them to a joint venture between Immortal and Immolation. Since then, the band signed with Listenable Records, which put the album into wider distribution. It’s still a damned strong listen.

This morning I saw that the band have released an official video for “Into A Demential Sea”, one of the songs from Witnessing the Fall. To crib from my review (since I’m too fucking lazy to come up with any new phraseology), it’s “almost experimental in its combination of raging guitars, complex drumming, and sharp rhythm breaks that cause the song to trudge with death-doom chord progressions.”

But more importantly, it will trigger the old headbang reflex, which is a reflex that needs to be triggered often, so that you don’t get fixed-neck syndrome, which is a precursor to tight-sphincter complex and stick-up-the-ass disease.

And in other welcome news, an Ulcerate-Svart Crown European tour has been announced for February 2012. I say “welcome” because I’m trying to be happy for our European readers. I myself do not find this news welcome, because, since I can’t go to any of these shows, the news simply makes me jealous and slightly miserable because of my loss. I’m going to console myself by watching this video again. It’s after the big goddamn tour poster which immediately follows the jump. I hope all you Euro motherfuckers are happy. Continue reading »