Ulcerate - Everything Is Fire
Atmospheric Death Metal
8 songs (50:34)
Release year: 2009
Ulcerate, Candlelight
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

Whoa, now this was a surprise. Hailing from New Zealand, Ulcerate have been tagged by certain ignorant internet users as Deathcore, which is probably the sole factor keeping them from being the name on everyone’s lips. What the band actually are will take a little more exploration, but the only way you could call them Deathcore is if you also called, say, Gorguts or Morbid Angel Deathcore. Ulcerate play a form of intense, technical and brutal Death Metal that forms a dark and compelling atmosphere; pretty unique in their field although there are shades of the aforementioned legends lurking in the background, as well as a hint of Origin and a pinch of Necrophagist. Songs vary between five and seven minutes in length, and are very complex – really, this isn’t moshable stuff, this is sit-down-with-your-eyes-closed-and-space-out stuff. Absolute and utter concentration is vital if you want to get anywhere near to understanding what’s going on here, such is the sheer amount going on in each track.

The players, at a level of technical mastery few can hope to surpass, are simply wonderful, whether it’s vocalist and bassist Paul Kelland, the excellent Jamie Merat on drums, or the astonishingly good Oliver Goater on guitars. Merat never simply blasts but indulges in a variety of clattering percussion styles, reminding me of Pete Sandoval at his best. Goater, however, never riffs as much as creates strange sounds, the guitars often sounding like they are taken from Post-Black Metal bands like Blut Aus Nord’s more experimental works. That’s actually a good way to sum the band up: MoRT, but Death Metal, with better percussion and less annoyingly abstract overall – of course, it’s far from describing the band to a T, but it does give you a sense of their interesting individuality. What are really special are the moments, such as partway through We Are Nil, where the band switch to clean melodies and sound like Isis for a heartbreaking second, adding that special drop of atmosphere, or the subtle switch to Jazziness on Caecus, reacting brilliantly with the overall feeling of dread. Listening in a dark room late at night, I was stunningly creeped out by the sudden chilling ambience at the end of Earth At Its Knees, and the powerful start to following track Soullessness Embraced made me jump. Everything Is Fire is the sort of album that sucks you deep down and doesn’t let go, if you take the trouble to really listen and get involved.

Although it’s an exhausting listen, something that you have to build yourself up to, and is far from accessible, Everything Is Fire is a stunning piece of Death Metal. Original, atmospheric, genuinely horrific and technically supreme without being too obtuse – I’m starting to find parts of the album perversely catchy in their heaviness after the repeated listens I’ve given it – Ulcerate have here created a monster that will shock newcomers to the genre and excite veterans, and they deserve every accolade they receive for it, assuming they get any... This is one band that you’d be an idiot to ignore if you want more from Death Metal than the grunt n’blast which gets the headlines.

Killing Songs :
We Are Nil, Caecus, Tyranny, Soullessness Embraced, Everything Is Fire
Goat quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Ulcerate that we have reviewed:
Ulcerate - Vermis reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Ulcerate - The Destroyers of All reviewed by Charles and quoted 85 / 100
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