Ulcerate - Stare Into Death And Be Still review
|Album:||Stare Into Death And Be Still|
|Release date:||April 2020|
01. The Lifeless Advance
02. Exhale The Ash
03. Stare Into Death And Be Still
04. There Is No Horizon
06. Visceral Ends
07. Drawn Into The Next Void
08. Dissolved Orders
To once again quote a fellow user and reviewer who was wise before I was:
"This album is Ulcerate's The Eye Of Every Storm."
I wanted to review this at least a week before this got released to somehow inform people's expectations about it, but by streaming it early, Ulcerate totally ruined my plan of making you disappointed so that it will be an even bigger surprise when people actually listen to it and find out how great it actually is. Obviously my plan wouldn't have worked because they also released some tracks beforehand. So now everyone already listened to it and I am forced to be honest and admit that this is probably Ulcerate's best album since 2011's The Destroyer Of All. And also this and the Oranssi Pazuzu released this weekend have kind of set some big goddamn standards for this decade.
Ulcerate do have something quite magical about them. Loads of bands have heard Gorguts' Obscura and tried to recreate that feeling, but Ulcerate were among the most successful in taking that sound further. I even have a friend whose favorite band is Ulcerate, and I have seen both Massive Attack and Dead Can Dance live with him, so it's gotta mean something. That said, as great as Vermis and Shrines Of Paralysis were, they were starting to feel "by the books". So you can probably anticipate how much I love that they took quite a bit of a left turn with this one. Or not really a "turn" as much as a slowing down, enough to gaze upon the wasteland that we live in. It's not enough to bring destruction and mayhem, sometimes you gotta stop and look around, or you might miss it. So at the risk of losing some of their trademark aggression, Ulcerate bring their most melodic and dynamic album of their career, and almost, dare I say, emotional.
And here is where the Neurosis comparisons come into play. The change of pace not only brings the two closer sound-wise but mood-wise as well. Stare Into Death And Be Still feels more bleak and desolate, almost pensive at times. The album is more patient in revealing the chaos it had uttered into the world rather than bringing it head on. The new sense of atmosphere that this album has, and the complete mastery with which Ulcerate evoke it, makes this a much darker listen. I am not sure how much of it is due to the band recently signing to Debemur Morti, a label pretty much synonymous with dark dissonant black metal, but it seems that Ulcerate have injected some of the DNA of their new peers into their own. The result might not be as impressive if they didn't also keep their absolute mastery of technical death metal.
The production does help this album a lot in achieving its sense of atmosphere, but also in making each instrument feel as if at its full potential. Like holy shit this album is such a treat to listen to with some good headphones on. Now all this talk of atmosphere might scare away of few folks who just wanted some damn good dissonant chaotic riffs and earth shattering blast beats. Even with their new sense of melody, there are still plenty of moments of bludgeoning technicality, although I have to admit that my favorite moments were the ones where the drumming was in full blast mode, but the rest of the band was in mid-paced mode, which is a contrast I wish more people knew how to approach. It will be a really long time before you'll hear me complain about the drumming on an Ulcerate album, with Jamie Saint Merat being responsible for more than half of the head nodding moments of this record.
With its sound closer and closer to either post-metal, melodic doom death and atmospheric black metal, Stare Into Death And Be Still is undoubtedly to disappoint a few people who would wish they stuck a little closer to their guns. I do admit that I think Ulcerate should've made some sections a little more pummeling, but choosing between the end result and just another album in the vein of their previous ones? I don't have one doubt in my mind.
||Written on 19.04.2020 by|
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