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Ulcerate - Everything Is Fire CD (album) cover



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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Everything is Fire is the second full-length studio album by New Zealand progressive death metal act Ulcerate. Lead vocalist Ben Read and guitarist Michael Rothwell who were new in the linup on the debut album Of Fracture and Failure (2007) have already left Ulcerate again and Everything is Fire was recorded as a three-piece with bassist Paul Kelland also taking over the vocal duties, Michael Hoggard playing all guitars and Jamie Saint Merat manning the drumkit.

The lineup changes will have some effect on Ulcerateīs style but the music on Everything is Fire is unmistakably the sound of Ulcerate. The dissonant chords and notes played by the guitars and the chaotic technical drumming are trademarks in the groupīs sound. The new things on this album compared to the debut is that Ulcerate incorporate some slow post metal sounding parts into their brutal death metal. The pace is generally slower than on the debut making Everything is Fire a darker and more heavy album. The vocals by Paul Kelland are unfortunately not as powerful and varied as the vocals by former vocalist Ben Read and thatīs a real shame as Ben Readīs contributions to the debut were considerable and a real asset to Ulcerateīs sound. Paul Kellandīs deep guttural growling style doesnīt set itself apart from thousands of other death metal vocalists and while they are not bad they are certainly monotone and a bit tiring IMO. The music on the album is of high quality though and the vocals are not downright annoying just a bit trivial so my impression of the album is still very positive. There are eight songs on Everything is Fire all between 5 and 8 minutes long. Like on the debut you shouldnīt expect too many melodic or instantly memorable parts on the album but the songs win after repeated listens.

The production is a bit darker than the production on the debut. It suits the songs well and makes Everything is Fire an even heavier album than it already is. The vocals are a bit low in the mix which is a typical post metal feature and I wonder if the post metal elements in the music has also influenced the production.

Everything is Fire is a great second album by Ulcerate. While there are many recognizable elements that gives away the fact that this is an Ulcerate album there are enough new features on the album to set it apart from the debut in a positive way. I canīt say Iīm happy about the shift on the lead vocalist spot though but I guess itīs a matter of taste. A 3.5 - 4 star rating is deserved.

Report this review (#238984)
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
1 stars Monotonous growling does nothing to make Ulcerate stand above countless other acts doing pretty much the same thing. The trio releases salvo after salvo of discordant riffs, an inaudible bass guitar, and an almost constant double bass drum underneath it all. Bands of this nature honestly make me believe that they are simply incapable of writing an actual vocal melody that will accommodate their music, but that may be one man's slight prejudice speaking. What can be written about eight tracks that sound exactly the same? Considering the complete lack of melody, the constantly disgusting and tiresome vocals, and the identicalness from track to track, I cannot imagine anyone deriving pleasure from this, but presumably people do, and that's all right with me.

"Drown Within" After feedback and noise, the grungy, sludgy riffs of down-tuned guitars and the mauling of a rapid bass drum descend upon the listener like a ravenous vulture uncaring that its prey is still alive. Instead of biting though, the bird opens its mouth, and out comes a series of hideous growls over an incoherent battery of sound.

"We Are Nil" An assault of noise floods the speakers and does not relent until almost four minutes in; after the short respite, the guitarist has further discordant riffs to sludge through.

"Withered and Obsolete" Yet another tiring onslaught of constant noise, this third track offers nothing new in the way of tone, composition, substance, or technical skill.

"Caecus" While mostly more of the same, this band fortunately has the good sense to avail themselves of the aural brush that is generally known as "quiet," at least at one point. The guitarist has a passage in the middle of the piece that is more enjoyable than anything else here.

"Tyranny" Fortunately the guitarist toned down the gain so the bassist could be heard a bit during this relatively restrained and somewhat enjoyable introduction, but once the vocalist enters, it's back to the drudgery of sludge.

"The Earth at Its Knees" Horrible barrages of guitar and drums dominate the mix, and the vocalist is still pretending it's Halloween but can't clear his throat enough to say "Trick or treat, kids- would you like some cheese and crackers?"

"Soullessness Embraced" This is actually one of the better tracks, because even though it retains its almost-constant nastiness, it has a good introduction with some enjoyably distorted bass.

"Everything Is Fire" While the dual guitar is interesting, the machine gun double bass drumming is altogether pointless- I fail to see how this adds anything to the composition besides making it "more metal." It is an exercise to sit through it, but as I mentioned in my opening paragraph, others may enjoy this noisy onslaught.

Report this review (#260580)
Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ulcerate offer an dose of extreme metal and not especially fitting for new comers in the field. "Everything Is Fire" reminds me of London Porter's beer label, "Rich, Dark & Complex", tho they should have added the taste is acquired, and like any good *insert nearly anything* needs background taste and careful selection. The melody on this album is different from mainstream any sub brunch of death metal. A variety of alternate-picked harmonics, lacks any solos and an an expansive tonal range (Roman Temin @ diabolicalconques). Ulcerate's elements are wide and diverse, from "duel guitars" to insane and original drumming and it all brews together into something like the dark-anarchic thought of a pre-Socratic thinker which was also named "the obscure" known for his darkness & hardness to understand. My favorite is the "sparkling" drumming and the twisting & piercing guitar riffs yet atmospheric, which together create some beautiful "post-rock" (for a lack of better choice of a term) moments. Also the climax at some tracks are simply mind blowing. Even superman (as some other review did mention) could not have digested this album after a few spins. Its impossible to digest something so genuinely authentic & jaw dropping new at a short period of time. This album does not fall into the self-parody that some other DM (death metal) bands fall into, and for that it holds some genuine disturbing moments.

This album will be remembered together with Gorguts, Suffocation, Death & similar bands which are treasured as classics. Any how, I'm out to listen to Camel's "The Snow Goose" and after that popping "Everything is Fire", enjoying the full spectrum that richness & excellence can offer.

Report this review (#307658)
Posted Sunday, October 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
Prog Metal Team
4 stars New Zealand has given the world a lot of wonderful things, namely Kimbra, hobbits, and of course, Ulcerate. The music of Ulcerate has a particular ring to it besides the ringing that will last in your ears for hours after listening to this album. Think of 'brutal death metal' as a properly finished version of a Mr. Potatohead. Disassemble it and give it to a twenty two month old child to reconstruct. The results will unmistakably still be a Mr. Potatohead as the main frame and body-parts remain intact, but in this case there's an ear for a mouth, eyes on the left side of the head and an arm branching out where his nose should be.

Ulcerate's song constructions possess a linear flow that suddenly shift at will in speed and intensity with little or no warning. Calm but cold guitar-based ambience gives way to a torrential wave of blasting and roaring guitars with riff patterns that seem barely discernible with all the shimmering harmonics and atonal chords writhing away over a rhythmic backdrop of brutality. The drummer in particular is fantastic, pinballing between furious aggression and slower though no less tricky tempos, straying from constant pummeling to allow for the dark and unusual aura this album holds to seep through.

That's what really separates this act from much of their peers, the strong focus on atmosphere, which in this case is cold, dreary and unsurprisingly violent. What I really dig the most about this release, my favorite of theirs in fact, is just how well it balances the brutal nature of their earlier material with the more exploratory emphasis on atonal atmospherics while not sacrificing any ferocity (which I feel occurred to some extent regarding The Destroyers Of All). Vocally, the growls are heavy, deep and monotone, but balanced by the pulverizing nature of the music's production qualities and general frenetic pace-shifting patterns, they rather suit the music more than say a screamer or an actual vocalist who sings. It all just adds to the bleak apocalyptic nature of these songs, with tracks like "Soullessness Embraced" really showcasing the skill-level these guys possess, which is quite formidable. Hell, the opening oddball riffs of "Withered and Obsolete" alone must have been a chore to memorize, and this band is well known for its strong live performances.

Not music for those prone to stomach ulcers, Ulcerate did everything right here, giving themselves a distinctive sound and an oppressive air that's not easy to traverse through, but definitely worth it for those into this sort of craziness, such as myself.

Report this review (#925193)
Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | Review Permalink

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