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Ulcerate - Stare into Death and Be Still CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.00 | 8 ratings

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4 stars "Stare into Death and Be Still" is the 6th full-length studio album by New Zealand death metal act Ulcerate. The album was released through Debemur Morti Productions in April 2020. Itīs the successor to "Shrines of Paralysis" from 2016 and features the exact same trio lineup who recorded the predecessor.

Two words and one influence have always been among the descriptors of Ulcerate and thatīs inaccessible, dissonant, and Gorguts. While Ulcerate have managed to stay relevant and continue to release albums in the years since their inception in 2002, they havenīt strayed too far from their original formula or from their obvious Gorguts influence on any of their previous releases. What they have done though is develop their sound slowly but steadily from album to album, and adding more and more of a unique touch to their bleak and dissonant technical death metal style and thatīs what has happened again on "Stare into Death and Be Still". One more step out of the shadow of Gorguts.

When that is said this is still strongly Gorguts influenced technical death metal, featuring dissonant twisted riffs and open chords, complex and challenging technical rhythm work, and some deep growling vocals, which this time around has become slightly more intelligible. I wonīt remove the inaccessible label from my description of the music, but "Stare into Death and Be Still" is to date the most accessible release from Ulcerate and I hear more memorable and catchy moments here than before. The songwriting is more focused on those qualities and while this is still bleak and brutal music, it features a little less of the impenetrable darkness of some of the predecessors. Itīs actually quite atmospheric at times and occasionally leans towards post-metal territory.

Ulcerate generally seem a little more interested in opening up their intriguing take on technical death metal to the listener, and itīs not done by compromising their integrity or the brutality of their music. Itīs small details like a semi-melodic hook, an intelligible vocal phrase, or maybe a heavy groove, which is a bit more catchy and simple than usual. A good example is the title track, which is an incredibly creative composition, featuring many intriguing riffs and rhythms and an atmospheric middle section. But while itīs certainly a complex and challenging song, there are also some more simple features, which makes it at least occasionally accessible.

"Stare into Death and Be Still" features a crushingly brutal and heavy sound production, which is perfect for the material and helps the tracks to shine. This is an album for those who are interested in a different take on technical death metal. Forget about conventional power chord riffs, guitar solos, or regular drum patterns. When you cross the threshold and enter "Stare into Death and Be Still" you are in for an adventurous ride thatīs sure to challenge the conventional ideas of what death metal should sound like. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

UMUR | 4/5 |


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