Kelly, Full Metal Attorney, said I would not like this album. Challenge accepted. I found the CD for cheap when I was in Omaha last weekend and could not find Mitochondrion, so I bought this.
Ulcerate is described on Metal Archives as a brutal death metal band. The reality is significantly more complicated than that. They are definitely not just a blasting, heavy brutal death juggernaut. Those elements are definitely present, but with much more of a free-moving atmosphere and riffs (if you can call them that) that do not feel confined and rigid. The album is not in-your-face with its brutality. Instead the brutality comes from the seriously oppressive atmosphere. It is unnerving and spine-tingling.
The guitar parts are not really delivered as what we would normally call riffs. Instead, they are more of dissonant and ambient chords. They are the major source of the melody but do not really possess any sort of defined structure. They have a bit of a droning quality to them, although the drums and vocals keep it from devolving completely into an unstructured mess. This has been described as Neurosis playing death metal. To be honest, I am not overly familiar with Neurosis, so I will not comment on that comparison.
The drums are completely the opposite of the free-form guitars. Heavily blastbeat-driven and intense, the drumming is extremely impressive. The drums provide the major driving force in Ulcerate's music. They are also the major ingredient signaling that this is in fact a brutal death metal band.
The vocals are pretty standard. Nothing we really have not heard in several other brutal death metal bands, deep growls and little variety. The lyrics though are well-written and interesting and would probably be better served with a different vocal style.
This album is kind of draining, being nearly an hour long, yet consisting of only seven songs, but it is interesting enough to keep attention focused on it. I like it reasonably well, but have a feeling that it is more of a grower. It is kind of similar to the band Portal's releases, although a little bit better structured. All in all, it is certainly a creative album, different than a lot of the other stuff out there. Who knows, by the end of the year this could be a contender for my Album of the Year.