Ultha - Pain Cleanses Every Doubt
Ecocentric Records
Black Metal
4 songs (38' 53")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Andy

Ultha's debut combines black metal with other extreme metal genres, reflecting the band's diverse background. I heard at least one reviewer compare them to Deathspell Omega, but to be honest I don't see the resemblance. What is readily apparent, though, is misery, driven by oppressive and profoundly monolithic riffing. The genius of Pain Cleanses Every Doubt in the beauty of the arrangements, the band's hardcore and death metal influences preventing the listener from ever growing too comfortable while still providing a heavy dose of introspection.

And in some places, that introspection is solemn-toned enough to rival a large swath of currently-available doom metal. Perpetual Resurrection's echoing clean guitars at the start of the song are supported by nervous tremolo picking until an absolutely crushing distortion arrives and sweeps everything before it. During this the tremolo grows stronger and gets a life of its own, letting vocalists CS and RS shriek like the damned over the whole thing. Though predominantly black metal with strong melodies, the hardcore element in the music provides even stronger emotion with its occasional forays into simpler, harder riffs, and MS's drumming, especially on the quieter portions where the delicacy of what he is doing really comes to the fore, is intricate and extremely tight. Each one of the four songs, while all are grim and sorrowful, have a completely different feeling; Death Created Time to Grow the Things it Kills is slow and atmospheric, but is completely dominated by a raw, scraping distortion for a while, descending further to lower toned riffing that is even more depressive.

Not that the band can't blastbeat and melt faces with the best of them. You Exist for Nothing provides a faster and tougher pace, with CS and RS in a twisted duet with one another, mummified death metal vocals competing with blackened shrieks of agony, with only a few brief pauses between the barrage of guitars to let the listener know what he's let himself in for. Everything is beautifully timed and produced, with the tremolo-picked portions leaping high above the rhythm instruments, and that timing increases the crushing ponderousness of their sound.

Pain Cleanses Every Doubt ended up being a real treat, an album I'll definitely be giving some more spins. The expertise and fine sense of songwriting the band puts on display here are more than worth the price of admission.

Bandcamp: https://ultha.bandcamp.com/album/pain-cleanses-every-doubt.

Killing Songs :
Perpetual Resurrection
Andy quoted 82 / 100
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