Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ulcer - Grant Us Death [2013]

Despite their morph into more trendy brutal death metal composites over the turn of the 20th century, the bands coming out of the Polish death metal scene (Behemoth excluded) remain some of my favorites even to this day, and they certainly dominate the current legions of brutality thanks to the upsurge of Decapitation, Vader and an abundance of fresher acts which do not refrain from complete and obsolete obliteration. Thus, Pulverized Records introduced me to one of the youngest acts to come out of the debris, Ulcer, yet the aim of the Polish is clearly not to represent their national pride musically, but to call for a homage to those of Sweden, unarguably drawing their sole influences from Entombed, Dismember, Grave, Carnage, etc. It's harrowing to be drowned in myriads of libations to the same chainsaw-wielding gods, and what's further frustrating that Ulcer don't intend of circumventing their own passing of sustenance for the megalithic heart that pulses for the aforementioned mavens, because ''Grant Us Death'' could have easily been one of Rogga Johansson's prolific explorations into the beleaguered sub-genre.

Yes, I was indeed disappointed by the overall results of this record, and if I had to put it simply; if you've already had your fair share of buzzsaw gnawing and Swedish butchery, then this will get you absolutely nowhere new, which means another terrific cover art has been used up, for nothing. And thus, we enter ''Grant Us Death''. This is standard procedure for any Swede, but I was at least somewhat content by the band's overall quality; Ulcer proceeds to play everything by the book, and by the utmost extents, at that. The Poles have no mercy here, everything is Swedish to the bone; there's a mangled, distorted slough of a tone that tumultuously swipes over a regurgitated landscape of rotten bones, grime and putrid blood with a massive slew of heavy-as-fuck riffs to bear it, and despite the genuine redundancy of the whole thing Ulcer can still manage to bind hefty death/thrash paroxysms with d-beat driven death/grind formations and the occasional oozing melody patterns slinking over the broiling carnage during chorus sections to surface the entire momentum of the record into a more spacious, almost atmospheric climax.

Angelfuck's vocals are thicker than most vocalists exhibiting similar inflections, and while nothing of a novelty, he can rise to more high-pitched notes on more atmospherically imbued affairs like ''The Pact'' and then once again submerge into a more cavernous, harsh growl that blends well with the vortex of of explosions caused by the guitars, all complements of LucaSS and Mścisław, two hazardously raged musicians who've had their share of bloodied axes in a number of entities including the black metallers Blaze Of Perdition. Nothing is more evident than the fact that ''Grant Us Death'' was made for the mosh pit, with its crudely arranged riffs, its ravenous attitude, but I couldn't help but notice the group was, perhaps, vaguely experimenting with more aural, cathartic expressions than most acts in this field, but unless they're bound to have an evolution of sound on their third phantom release, then you're just as likely to be revitalized with nostalgia by trying out groups like Graveyard, Undead Creep, Horrendous, Claws or Revolting. And I was scarcely impressed, even though headbanging was still aplenty.

Grant Us Death

Rating: 68%

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