As someone who listens to A LOT of death metal, I can honestly say that it is one of the hardest genres to create a unique sound in. In fact, I’d say that 90% of the bands in the death metal scene, especially in 2013, can be classified as rip-offs of either the Swedish scene or the Tampa/New York scene in the early 90’s. Which is cool I guess, but also gets boring after a while. Thus, it’s always gnarly when a band like New Zealand’s Ulcerate comes around and carves their own unique little niche in the scene.
When listening to Ulcerate for the very first time, the following things are bound to come up at some point: “Wow, that drummer is ridiculous”, “Wtf is up with this dude’s guitar tone, why does it sound so robotic and weird and awesome?!!?” and “Why is it I feel like I’ve heard this song before? Oh…the last 3 songs sounded exactly like this one”. You really couldn’t be wrong for thinking any of those thoughts, because there is truth to all. Ulcerate does one thing and they do it really well…play super fast and technical riffs with a weird, robotic guitar tone, coupled with the ridiculously intense drumming of Jamie Saint Merat and they absolutely destroy. The problem is that 9 songs full of churning, robotic guitar riffs and mindblowingly technical death metal drumming with the same style of death metal growling can get pretty boring after awhile and each song sounds exactly alike at times. So the album is a bit of a grower. The cool thing about Ulcerate is…once they grow on you, you’re hooked forever.
Once you’ve listened to this album a few times and really hear what they’re doing, it’s hard not to fall in love with the creative nature of those churning riffs and the insanely technical drumming and the brutal growling and whatnot. I know it’s a cliché to say “to really enjoy the album, you’ve gotta dig deeper, man”, but that’s the best way to put it. If you like old school technical death metal, but you want something that challenges you to endure it multiple times, you’re gonna fall head over heels with Vermis. (Brandon Ringo)
Purchase Vermis here: http://www.relapse.com/ulcerate