Ulcerate – Of Fracture And Failure Review

Originally written by Jason Jordan.

Anno 2006 was an excellent year for technical death metal, and with all the buzz surrounding Psycroptic’s Symbols of Failure and Spawn of Possession’s Noctambulant, it’s a pity that fellow Neurotic signing Ulcerate have gone largely unnoticed. The New Zealanders can compete with their ilk on most fronts, even if they come up emotionally short like many bands of this kind often do. Still, despite its callous nature, Of Fracture and Failure is a very good tech death debut that warrants more recognition than it has received thus far.

Instrumentally speaking, Ulcerate are on the ball. The musicianship is truly staggering, especially when one considers the members’ respective ages. But when a band chooses to specialize in technical death metal, virtuoso-caliber musicianship is a must. The production suits the recording, too, though there could be more clout behind the double bass, which is arguably the toughest component to produce exactly right, unless you’re an easy sell. Incorporating two forms of vocals in the way of growls and raspy screams does add variation to a sameness that makes Of Fracture and Failure difficult to remember when it stops spinning. In fact, a significant portion of Ulcerate’s music is an emotionless blur. It certainly devastates when it’s unfolding, but it also inadvertently numbs the listener while doing so. Though each of the nine tracks has a refreshingly different beginning, by the time they hit full stride, it becomes a chore to distinguish between them. In other words, good luck picking “Becoming the Lycanthrope” out of a line-up unless you’ve absolutely studied each track. Particularly badass, however, is the fade-in of “Martyr of the Soil,” and because it clocks in at 7:34, it’s second only to closer “Defaeco” in the length department. Others range from approximately three to nine minutes, with most hovering around the four-minute mark, which results in a 45-minute album.

While Anata may be superior as far as emotion is concerned, and Odious Mortem may be superior as far as memorable songwriting goes, Ulcerate deserve accolades for what Of Fracture and Failure does get right. There are still kinks to work out, but hopefully this five-piece have a long, prosperous career ahead of them during which they can do just that. Neurotic were indeed wise to sign ‘em.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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