Ulcerate - _Destroyers of All_
(Willowtip Records, 2011)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (8 out of 10)
I know there can be no end point to the spectrum of accessibility. There would be no band that could lay claim to the heaviest or most brutal act in present history. Despite these obvious conclusions, there has to be at least an area which resides far from everyone else. A space for music you occasionally look up in amazement wondering how you got to this point in your aesthetics. There must be a time in one's life when the braying of dying farm animals was considered slightly jarring. This space is where all distinctions between consonance and dissonance become useless. A place where elaborate structures reside under thick veils of noise. It is a barren wasteland of acidic springs and vultures the size of mountains. It is a place where Ulcerate lives.

New Zealand's Ulcerate has been fairly consistent over the last three years with a regimented output. Since the mid '00s, the band has been unwavering in their dedication to release an ear shattering record every two years. 2011's _Destroyers of All_ follows the 2009 _Everything Is Fire_. If titles are any indication, then Ulcerate has no plans on reigning back their critical analysis regarding flaws and shortcomings of the human race. In fact, the band plans on letting you know exactly what they think of this thing you call "everything". While only 45 minutes, the length of each track stretches past the six minute mark, with a daunting ten minute closer. If the album were presented visually, _Destroyers of All_ would look like seven uniform metal structures. If you were looking for dynamic transitions with progressive and spidery guitar work, you may be disappointed. What Ulcerate lacks in variation, they make up for in distance. The unrelenting grind begins to make its motive clear. It is only after your last layer of feeling is peeled back that the true magic can begin.

Under the sometimes confusing maelstrom of indecipherable vocals and complex drum fills is a crafted landscape which, while bleak, is strikingly beautiful. There is a methodical calmness with Ulcerate's songs despite the ever presence of hellish noise. When compared to previous records, especially _Everything Is Fire_, the sense of atmosphere is noticeable. The heavy riffs are scaled back for the percussion and vocals. This, in turn, opens the middle, leaving a space between converging masses. This mixture of spotlighted vocals and drums makes for an intriguing blend which carries itself throughout the album. One of the closing songs, "Omens" makes the doom aspect of the record particularly noticeable. But _Destroyers of All_ shares no ties with Candlemass or even Black Sabbath. This is only slow violence. A tornado in slow motion.

I am usually resistant about calling albums "growers". The quality of slow yet exponential enjoyment is odd and is open to many variables and explanations. _Destroyers of All_ grew on me over the course of a couple of weeks. Its enjoyable aspects and convincing arguments were only heard after repeated listening. This is of course not to say the same thing would be true for another person. Some people, understandably, don't have time for an album to reveal its true self. Enjoyment may arrive immediately or not at all. Despite my reservations, there is something to be said about albums which require a small bit of "breaking in" or "loosening up". Ulcerate required me to stretch a little bit. When I was finally warmed up, I could run for miles. _Destroyers of All_ finally revealed its true form as a bright flowing death metal butterfly. It also makes a strong case for album of the year, if anyone can think that far ahead. At the end of the day, though, I'm pleased with myself for weathering the storm.

(article published 25/2/2011)

2/26/2011 J Carbon Ulcerate: Destruction For Miles
5/21/2009 J Smit 9 Ulcerate - Everything Is Fire
10/14/2003 Q Kalis 6 Ulcerate - Ulcerate
2/29/2004 Q Kalis 3.5 Ulcerate - The Coming of Genocide
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