(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.