Ulcer: Grant us Death

Ulcer photo

    Grant us Death from Polish death metallers Ulcer is a release which does not really ignite any fires of passion for its admittedly accomplished and impressively crafted musical animosity but it is still a release you can happily and want to come back to time and time again. Enriched in the depths of old school Swedish death metal, the album is a nasty violent cacophony of exhausting and malicious intensity engineered through raptorial riffs and blood thirsty rhythms for a more than pleasing confrontation.

Formed in 2006 by guitarist Lucass as initially a solo project for himself, the band soon grew with the addition of vocalist D.ssipline, guitarist Mścisław, and bassist Kuba. Two demos A Property of God? in 2006 and Slitwrist Society the following year were recorded though never released, each just spread amongst fans. As Kuba left the band second vocalist Angelfuck joined up and debut album Serpent Trinity was recorded in the summer of 2007, though again it was not released, just passed around like the previous  demos. A period of quiet and ‘inactivity’ followed before the band re-emerged in 2011 with drummer Vizun and bassist Kamil added to the ranks.  With a change in musical direction and new material primed to be unleashed, the band which features present and past members from Deivos, Blaze Of Perdition, Squash Bowels, and Azarath, signed with Pulverised Records, Grant Us Death their first voracious full assault upon the world.

The title track emerges from a melodic invitation within a foreboding ambience which gives no real essence of the decayed inferno Grant Us Death Coverto come. It is a ravenous assault with caustic vocals complimented by group shouts bristling upon uncompromising rhythms and a gnarly intent and sound from bass and intimidating guitar riffs. It does not exactly trigger mass euphoria but the track leaves one bursting with eagerness to delve deeper in to the album whilst basking in the already impressive corrosive malevolence on offer.

The strong start is elevated by the following Devilspeed, the start of a trend as the following Bloodpainted Salvation and The Love Song each take the album to ascending plateaus. The first of the trio is an adrenaline charged surge of rampant riffs and demanding rhythms crossed with malice soaked vocal squalls. Like the majority of the album the intensity created by guitars and bass saw across and ravage the ear with little relief or mercy but still leave one enthralled and eager for more of their violating presence. Bloodpainted Salvation pins the listener to the floor by the ear and savages the senses with further annihilatory intent and skilfully sculpted violence whilst the last of the trio is an inspiring furnace of rabid intensity and predatory synapse bruising sonic barbarity infused with a magnetic melodic teasing which takes the track impressively away from the pack.

From here as good as the likes of Godcremation, Devialize, and My Lord Has Horns are, the album fails to find the same heights again but nevertheless leaves a full satisfaction for the senses to devour with the inventive and accomplished sounds displayed to ensure the release is a formidable and appetising proposition again and again.

The closing track When Horror Comes brings a different flavour to the album and does give the album a heightened departure. Its mix of blackened death metal and almost gothic metal like vocal mesmerism captivates the imagination from start to finish, the constant harshly grizzled riffs and energy stretched and embellished with potent shadows and rich sonic flames to leave intrigue and a sustained appetite to follow the creative exploits of the band as they evolve further.

With an exclusive macabre painting by Bartek Kurzok (Abigail, Demonic Slaughter, Goat Tyrant) for its artwork, Grant Us Death is an album deserving of attention and a release fans of bands such as  Entombed, Nihilist, and Autopsy will find plenty of maybe not original but well-crafted and passionate sounds within.

www.facebook.com/Ulcerdeathmetal

7/10

RingMaster 21/02/2013

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Hell United: Aura Damage

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    Formed in 1997, Polish blackened death metallers Hell United has emerged as one of the best bands within their country and region. They have not matched the heights of Behemoth, Vader, or Decapitated yet, bands who they in sound have much in common with, but have certainly earned the reputation as one of the more impressive aural creators of blasphemy and violence. Their latest album Aura Damage will not change the position of the but with its demanding sounds and violating invention concretes their place as to the fore of Polish underground extreme metal.

Initially called Eclypse, the Tarnów quartet recorded an unreleased album The Human Abstract in 1999, though two tracks emerged re-recorded in their first demo Omen the following year. 2004 saw their debut album Applause: JHVH Elohim Met released leading to an intensive schedule of live shows and line-up problems. From this the re-named Hell United emerged with the line-up of vocalist/guitarist Void, bassist Bartollo, guitarist Rzulty, and drummer Dügy, and in 2007 the demo Extra-Strength Of The Obscure followed a year later by the album HornoKracy. The next two years saw the band  playing the United Death Armageddon tour, in 2008 and 2009, alongside the likes of MasseMord, Blaze Of Perdition, and Mord’A’Stigmata. A two version mini album came out in 2011, as The Third Sigil of Destruction in cassette form and as Abhorrence Majesty on vinyl whilst last year held the recording of Aura Damage after the band played shows with Ulcerate, Furia, and Intestinal. Now released via Hellthrasher Productions the album maintains the band as one which it is impossible not to spend time with.

It has to be said that the album does not ignite a furnace of passions for its undoubtedly accomplished and inventive sounds due to a398956_385472591504310_1090755155_n lack of anything startlingly new or different to other imaginative bands and releases, yet whilst in its venomous company Aura Damage leaves no room for distractions or a yearning to go elsewhere. Hell United is a skilled and provocative band in sound and invention, and one to which destructive violence and insidious violation is second nature. From the opener Red Limitations, a track which leaves the listener cowering under its towering riffs and rhythmic violence, the band piles on the oppressive intensity and corrosive malevolence. It is savage and unrelenting with a mission to snap wills and consume senses, something it does with little resistance.

The excellent Apostle Of Plague takes over the assault next, the torrential raining down of ravenous rhythms and twisted intrusive sonics alongside the grasping scowling vocals, riveting within its tempest. Throughout the bass prowls and snarls with a predatory hunger which is sensational and one of the most thrilling aspects of the whole release.

Deathlike Cold with its creeping malignancy which wraps itself around the ear with a serpentine relish offers an immediate diversity though the track soon explodes into another carnally driven ravishment of ear and beyond, whilst tracks like Let Sleeping Dogs Lie and the title track engage no thought of no restraint and savage the listener from first note to last whilst offering an evolving expanse of sonic grooves and blood spilling aural hate. Arguably the album is most adventurous and intriguing within its later tracks such as the doom gaited Hinterland and more specifically the furnace of intensity that is In Odore Sanctitatis and the closer Totality Of I, the first of the pair a rabid leap into the abyss of energy and intent lit by masterful sonic flames and the second another heavy mass of slowly ravishing doom soaked consumption.

Aura Damage is technically outstanding but one which just lacks a spark to ignite strong passion for the admittedly impressively crafted sounds and songs. Hell United is a band nevertheless which ensures its company is well worth the violence on offer.

http://www.hellunited.com

http://www.facebook.com/hellunited

6.5/10

RingMaster 15/02/2013

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