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Ulcerate - Cutting the Throat of God

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With Ulcerate being one of only a handful of bands who can genuinely excite me anymore with their music, I avoided any teasers on the internet for Cutting the Throat of God, waiting instead until the vinyl and t-shirt combo I had placed on pre-order many weeks ago finally landed in my grubby little mitts. The trick had worked for the last two records by the kings of dissonant death metal and despite my nervous that Ulcerate were long overdue a bad release (a golden run that goes as far back as Everything is Fire) I stuck with the process this time around also.

Once again, Ulcerate have delivered. I can think of no higher praise to heap on this record other to say that once it starts, I never want it to stop. As someone who is rarely moved emotionally by music nowadays, I find Cutting the Throat of God to be a welcome sensory wrench and a deeply stirring and fervent emotional experience at the same time. The expansive complexity is there as I have come to expect (although for me it sounds a little more dialled back overall – more on that later), yet the sense that there is a titanic shift within my very being ongoing is far more disorientating than the technical aptitude of the musicians and their songwriting.

Being able to captivate me from the off with the intro to your opening track is a rare achievement indeed, yet To Flow Through Ashen Hearts does this effortlessly. It is menacing and carries the upmost sense of threat that I have heard in a long time. Reminiscent of how Vermis started off way back in 2013, Ulcerate really prove that they know how to open a record. Of course, that is not the end of the experience by any means and having started as they mean to go on, they simply drop into cruise mode and deliver one of the most accomplished death metal albums I have ever heard and by far the best album Ulcerate have ever done.

Referencing Vermis made me recognise that although it has gotten better over the many records that have dropped since then, the vocal mix on their latest opus is absolutely bang on. On Vermis the vocals were mostly lost, an afterthought almost. Here, building on the improvements made on previous offerings since then, they are perfectly enacted against the instrumentation without detracting from their overall impact. Structure wise, I have to say I sense this record to be Ulcerate’s most accessible release to date. The fade and explode benchmarks are still here as well as that contagion virus of death metal tremolo riffs that punctuate the dense atmospheres with added brevity; almost sanguine melodies invest even more to really stretch the listening experience. But fundamentally the listener is pushing at an open door here when trying to access the gifts of Cutting the Throat of God. Ulcerate temper any technical mastery without ever leaving any doubt as to just how much effort has gone into composing such structures. Yet this is not arcane or esoteric music. It has flow, ebb and swell in bucket loads. However, it is a traceable record, with clear tracks. The Dawn Is Hollow may seem to perish as opposed to end, but Further Opening the Wounds does exactly what it says on the tin and starts something anew immediately.

If Gorguts are planning on releasing anything this year, then I would personally wait because this masterpiece is going to be hard to top in dissonant death metal circles. Album of the year right here folks.

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