Album Review: Ulcerate – Stare Into Death And Be Still 9.5 (Death Metal)

Written by Colin

  • Ulcerate
  • Star Into Death And Be Still
  • Death Metal
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • April 24, 2020
  • 9.5/10

As much as I hate to admit it, Stare Into Death And Be Still is the first Ulcerate record I’ve listened to in full. I always avoided Ulcerate perhaps because of their popularity within the death metal community. Things become popular for a reason, though, and Ulcerate is a prime example of this.

Superior songwriting and musicianship have made Stare Into Death And Be Still one of 2020’s most highly anticipated death metal albums. Released on April 24th, Ulcerate’s sixth album lives up to the immense hype. The album is dissonant, heavy, technical and has a melancholy twist that will satisfy fans of the Gorguts-spawned style, while still attracting modern death metal fans through incredible instrumentation.

The album opens with “The Lifeless Advance” which instantly pummels the listener with a catchy riff, heavy bass, and blistering drums. The song opens slow but quickly picks up the pace, leaving the listener floored by incredible technicality, speed, and precision.

Stare into Death continues in this way, each song seemingly heavier and catchier than the next. The tracks have all have a similar musical theme, consisting of ominously dark and melancholy melodies. Despite the consistency of these dark undertones throughout the album, however, the tracks still have unique enough guitar and drum work, providing each track its own identity. Each song has its own memorable riff that will stick in your head until the next track’s riff takes over.

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Every instrument on this record contributes to the whole. No instrument outshines the other or feels lacking. The vocals are also great. They are embedded into tracks and feel as though they arise from the tracks’ ether. This, combined with well-placed vocal reverb, give each of the songs an incredible atmosphere which ties into the overarching darkness of the album.

The album’s closing track, entitled “Dissolved Orders,” begins much like the album opener. Slowly and blossoming into a faster, heavier track. However, this track slows down almost as quickly as it picked up. Soon, only atmospheric guitars lead to ambient noise that slowly guide the listener out of the fifty-eight-minute musical void they just experienced.

The only complaints I have about this album are minute and nit-picky. The first is the length. No track is under five minutes, and at some points it can feel as though it drags a bit. Despite this, though, the songwriting is interesting enough to continue listening. The other complaint is production. Personally, on this style of death metal, I prefer a bit cleaner and punchier production. Specifically, I would have liked the drums to be a bit cleaner. I think that that would have helped to underscore Michael Hoggard’s incredible work on the album a bit more.

Overall, Stare Into Death And Be Still is an incredible album. I can’t say enough how incredibly talented this band is, and this album is my evidence of that claim. Ulcerate is yet another band that has taken the classic Gorguts style and built something incredible with it. My complaints about the album hardly detract from my overall opinion of the album. I regret passing this band up until now and look forward to going through their discography. Stare into Death and be Still is definitely going to be a highlight of 2020.

9.5/10

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