Ulcer: Grant us Death

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    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.

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7/10

RingMaster 21/02/2013

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77 – High Decibels

If you come across any other reviews of Spanish hard rock band 77 you would have read they more than carry an air and sound heavily influenced and taken from AC/DC. No argument from us at the RR regarding that, which is hard luck on the band as this style of music and their influences do not offer anything to ignite sparks or to go deeper than just the ear here. It has to be said though that High Decibels, the second album from 77 is an easily accessible and engaging release. It comes with no pretence or aspirations to be anything it is not, it just bursts with an eagerness to bring straight honest heavy rock n roll.

Released February 28th via Listenable Records the album is rich in 70s heavy metal with other touches of earlier rock. It is also low in originality but the band more than make up for that with strong tracks that take the better elements of the genre and sound and restyle them to their own compositions. Recorded with of Nicke Andersson (Imperial State Electric and ex-Nihilist, Entombed, and Hellacopters), High Decibels is an accomplished follow up to their debut album 21st Century Rock, and though It does not venture away from its predecessors sound or the influences that inspire the band it does have a better rounded feel.

The brothers Valeta lead the band with their creative but unfussy guitars; LG Valeta is never over indulgent in his solos and Armand backs up his brother perfectly with power and controlled play. Armand also continues his vocal delivery with a Bon Scott styling that goes beyond a mere impression adding to the overall homage of sound. Completed by the excellent bass play of Mr. Raw and the controlled but energetic drums of Johnnie Dolphin, 77 know how to create music and songs that grab hold and lead one into a world of solid and satisfying rock music.

The album is highly consistent with tracks like the opening title track, the energetic Are You Ready For Rock n Roll, and the chunky riff pleasure of Lets Beat It Up making the album more than worth a listen even if like us this is not music that one finds enthusiasm for. There are two central tracks within the album that ensures the release should be looked at. The first Backdoor Man has a neat blues vein pulsating through it and guitars that tease and beckon the ear wonderfully. Again the bass of Raw is a delight, his rhythms moody and provoking without demanding centre stage. The second of the songs is Gimme A Dollar and it is a gem, the one song that shone brightest of all. The fact that it has a hook and riff straight out of Buddy Hollys Not Fade Away does it no harm at all. It offers much more than that though and is a nice blend of rock n roll, blues and hard rock. If all tracks were like this they may have a convert on their hands.

Songs like This Girl Is On Fire and Meltin In A Spoon keep up the overall standard and AC/DC tribute, which is what it feels like at times, though the band do try to bring something new as with their mini epic Promised Land. It does not quite come off but is still a fine and interesting track with striking riffs and ideas.

One cannot fail to see hard rock and especially classic hard rock fans loving this and so they should. It has everything to excite their ears and beyond, but for us where the genre has no haven it is fighting a lost battle. To be honest High Decibels was enjoyable and if it was playing there would be no rush to turn it off for sure. The album will definitely also find favour with fans of their obvious idols, 77 making an album and music that is respectful and inspired by love of what AC/DC always do best.

RingMaster 16/02/2012

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