Stare Into Death And Be Still

Debemur Morti
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. The Lifeless Advance
02. Exhale the Ash
03. Stare Into Death and Be Still
04. There is No Horizon
05. Inversion
06. Visceral Ends
07. Drawn Into the Next Void
08. Dissolved Orders

ULCERATE is a force to be reckoned with; a truly intense musical expression, but not in the typical sense. There is a feverish, smoldering death metal attack including the prototypical growling vocals and blasting drum work, but ULCERATE only periodically goes for the jugular, not perpetually, like more conventional death metal bands do. The emphasis is upon varied textures and dynamics as part of what's an atmospheric journey. In an oversimplified sense, they are equal parts IMMOLATION paired with NEUROSIS. Sure, it's music to bang your head to at times, but more than anything, ULCERATE produces extreme metal that can lead one into a trance-like state. The New Zealand-based act has just returned with its sixth full-length album, Stare Into Death and Be Still", and it offers everything the band has been known for, while expanding ULCERATE's horizons as well.

Little has changed with regard to the band's trajectory and approach since forming in 2000, founded by drummer Jamie Saint Merat and guitarist Michael Hoggard. While numerous members were in and out of the band during the early years, the core duo has been joined by Paul Kelland, on vocals and bass, since 2005. The lineup stability and shared vision has contributed toward their momentum building, with each successive release qualitatively topping its predecessor. As such, "Stare Into Death and Be Still" stands in line and proves to be dissonant and discombobulating, a maelstrom of intricate and interesting technical death metal complexity that's built with precision and directed with purpose.

While there is an abundance of nuance involved on this tremendously dynamic release, the paradox is that ULCERATE continues to reap rewards based upon their dichotomous approach. It's a far cry from "good cop/bad cop" simplicity and juxtaposition, though. The more prominent post-metal atmospheric developments lead towards climactic and explosive extreme metal freneticism. "Dissolved Orders", for instance, opens with evocative and calm melancholic portions that might capture the attention of the more adventurous fringe of shoegaze fans, and that's before the song winds toward a monstrous metallic barrage. And mercifully, this approach isn't unreasonably applied in a manner that would render it excessive and formulaic. For example, the inverse of this coarse-calm dichotomy is evident on "There is No Horizon", a track that's abundant with a dense fracas that essentially bookends a trance-inducing and serene midsection.

While the hellish growling and blast-beat battery dives in to punctuate certain melodious and ethereal segments on "Visceral Ends" and elsewhere, the transitions are fluid without losing any impact. Mirroring the manner in which the two sides of this coarse-calm coin complement one another is the dueling instrumental interplay, namely, the riffs and guitar work playfully spar with the equally spry percussive surges on a song like "Drawn Into the Next Void". That tension defines ULCERATE.

The inventive New Zealanders have truly upped the ante with regard to what they're capable of producing. ULCERATE's tried-and-true tools of the trade remain sharp, and they've boldly taken steps to create their most beautiful offering to date: one that doesn't forsake an ounce of their brutality and heft. This release doesn't provide much by way of instant gratification. It's a piece of art that requires patience to fully absorb — from the music to the conceptual focus upon death that reveals the men behind ULCERATE's proverbial masks exposed in a more vulnerable form. "Stare into Death and Be Still" isn't an easy release to consume, but it's rewarding on the deepest and most profound levels for those who are patient enough to allow ULCERATE to work their magic.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).