by Ray Henry (mouthforwar.net)
Look, I’m going to be blunt here. Ulcer hail from Poland (a country that’s certainly no stranger to death metal) and play what can only be described as a near perfect blend of Swedish luminaries Dismember, Unleashed and Entombed. The music isn’t really all that original to tell you the truth as the ten old school death metal tracks wear their influences proudly on the tattered jean jackets. But there’s something about Grant Us Death that I like and can’t quite put my finger on.
Perhaps it’s that the songs on the band’s sophomore album echo a sound so true to the bands I grew up with that it tugs at memories. Perhaps it’s the multi-vocal delivery or the ferocious performance. Whatever it is, Ulcer have produced an album that I just can’t seem to escape the frenzied chainsaw guitars and manic d-beat drumming contained within its 40 plus minute run time.
The opening title track sets the tone immediately. Well, not immediately. We’ve gotta get through a bit of acoustic guitars first. Then, we’re good to go with lurching walls of buzzing guitars, heavy handed drums and vicious, growling vocals. The backing group vocals is an interesting touch. Much like the rest of the album the guitar tone is spot on in it’s mimicking of riffs and leads from the likes of Left Hand Path and Shadows of the Deep. As a fan of the genre, it would be easy to cast this one aside as a rip-off, but the music’s presentation and overall sound is just too damned addictive to fully ignore.
Tracks like “Devilspeed” lay down the law with violent rhythms and churning riffs while “Bloodpainted Salvation” unleashes hell with unrelenting drums, “Godcremation” channels it’s inner Entombed with devastating effect. “Devitalized” is a frenzied attack with barbaric drumming while “The Pact” gallops along with thundering low-end and album closer “When Horror Comes” wraps up things in a nasty ball of hate. Throughout Grant Us Death, songs carry slithering melodies beneath the din of fuzzed out guitars and gravelly growls. Riffing patterns sound familiar but at the same time, fresh enough to keep you interested.
Like I said, overall the sound on the sophomore full-length from Ulcer certainly isn’t original, but by all things unholy, it’s still a solid damned listen. The production is spot on for the style. The vocals — layered and fairly varied with the accompaniment of backing and group shouts — give the album a unique feel. I don’t know what else to say, but check it out for yourself.