Perhaps one of New Zealand’s best band’s in the extreme metal world right now has to be Ulcerate. Their brand of technical death metal is extremely compelling not because it focused many challenges and boundaries that made the genre incredibly fluent in the last decade, but Ulcerate to me are one of the most gifted and hardest working artist’s in death metal, period. Following up to 2016’s Shrines Of Paralysis which in my humblest opinion a huge game changer to the band’s overly technical, sporadic and dynamic sounding records they’ve ever done.
Stare Into Death And Be Still is perhaps the most darkened, complex and engaging albums they’ve ever done. If you want a band that relies heavily on atmosphere, production and understanding the band’s importance to create a self portrait out of themselves, this is the record you must listen front to back. While Shrines Of Paralysis and past Ulcerate records were a testament of time for death metal, this particular album embraced and introduces various components of musical brilliance from frenzied death metal signatures, atmospheric flourishes, doom metal inspired passages, and melodic sensibilities, every Ulcerate album is taking its toll and concentration to fully understand where the band wanted to take their sound and influencing many old school death metal bands from the earliest stages of Immolation and Gorguts to even some traces of avantgarde touches in the realms of Deathspell Omega, Portal, Mitochondrion and Imperial Triumphant really set the bar sky high to unleash a album that’s over an hour long in duration will have the listener strapped themselves into a world where the human condition and destruction becomes obsolete.
Take songs such as Drawn into the Next Void, The Lifeless Advance, There Is No Horizon and Dissolved Orders for example, these songs have bit of a sound change of older Ulcerate records and while it had that claustrophobic, melancholic and labyrinthine sounds, this is more leaning towards a dark, soaring and frightening approach while maintaining the hopelessness, isolation, and inevitability of the listener’s mood will steady but surely have their conscious be draining after hearing such artistic talent and beautifully made pieces of music is really the biggest highlight upon listening to this release. What’s also great about this release is the musicianship, my goodness the musicianship is without shadow of a doubt the tightest and strongest it’s ever been before and almost immediately each track you hear creates chaotic and spiraling passages made my brain melt in a brutal way. Stare Into Death And Be Still is not only for the faint of heart but it is perhaps one of the absolute best death metal releases in 2020 and will be discussed throughout decades upon decades.
Overall Score: 10/10
Review by Jake Butler