Album Review

Ulcerate - Vermis

Released September 17, 2013
Lisa Sanchez
Ulcerate's new album Vermis is the musical equivalent of a tough-man competition. Behind its almost impenetrable wall of sound Vermis is not an easy listening album, but Ulcerate has succeeded in delivering a brutal, clean, and unrelenting piece of work. Vermis is a stand out record in the metal world not only for its precision and composition but also for its ability to double as an excellent A.D.D. test.

Ulcerate struts around as your good, old-fashioned sludgy doom band. If you don't know what that means, I recommend you buy a diaper, hide all of the liquor and weapons in your house, then chain yourself to a staircase and listen to Vermis. The album is heavy but well balanced, precise, and at times almost robotic. However, Ulcerate also invokes a human element with solid vocals, great composition, and terrifying songs.

The album opens with the somber, atmospheric "Odium", which lets the listener know, "Yes, this is how your death begins." The introduction is an eerie deluge with sludge-filled guitar and vocals. At this point, I was concerned Vermis would lull me to an everlasting coma of night terrors.

However, "Odium" functions as an excellent setting to the title track "Vermis". "Vermis" is fast and vicious but retains a sense of control that Ulcerate has cultivated for an overall effect on the album. Where some of their contemporaries have focused more on shredding guitar and terrifying lyrics, Ulcerate takes its time creating the soundtrack for your utter destruction.

Although it takes some time to wiggle into the dense feel of Vermis, after a while I found myself mildly entranced. It's easy to get pulled into the ceaseless musical onslaught offered up in "Clutching Revulsion" and "Confronting Entropy". But, instead of depending on constant chugging to create the album, the guys in Ulcerate also slip in slow respites like "Fall to Opprobrium" and the beginning of "Cessation". Its a nice little break in the middle of the album to make sure your heart doesn't explode until track 9.

Ulcerate's Vermis is, if nothing else, technically fascinating and a totally solid album. However, buyers beware: this is not an easy album to listen to. I'm pretty sure you would bring on a Mad Max-style driving scenario if you tried to jam-out to this in your car. Most of the songs on Vermis are over seven minutes long, which at times really gave my attention span a ride for its money. But when my attention eventually came back full-circle I was never disappointed. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at the composition in Vermis, both in the songs and the album as a whole. Sometimes doom-metal can fall into the trap of one-trick pony brutality, but Ulcerate has the chops and the skills to make a truly awesome and devastating album. It's definitely worth an hour of your life to listen to, but I don't recommend playing it at your wedding.