ULCER - Heading Below (ARACHNOPHOBIA Records - CD 2016)
If you know me well, then you know how much I fuckin love Swedish sounding old school death metal. I kneel before and worship old bands, old albums, but not only. A lot of newer stuff that is being released these days is crazy awesome. It seems like every European country wants to have their own Dismember / Entombed, so you can find one or two even in Russia haha. And Poland also has some, among them is Ulcer. But Ulcer is not a newcomer, since this is their third album already. Yeah, time FFF = fuckin flies fast.”Grant Us Death”, which was a second Ulcer album, was released back in 2013 by Pulverised Records and obviously I liked it also. But I feel like it didn’t get as much attention as it should, even here in Poland it seems that it didn’t reach enough maniacs. Yeah, Asian labels… “Heading Below” is now released on Polish label, so this is definitely a good step for Ulcer, as I can already see that the interest in their music is bigger. Good, because believe me, “Heading Below” is an album that needs your attention and support.
I know that you can feel fed up with all that Swedish sounding stuff. But I love “Heading Below”, it really blew much head off. From start and first listen, I felt like this album is a great step forward for Ulcer and kind of new quality for this band. Quality, which at the same time leaves 99% of similar bands and releases way in the back, as it’s just much, much better. And no, I’m not exaggerating, believe me, “Heading Below” fits my musical tastes just perfectly. What else do you want me to write if I hear one killer riff after another, and then I’m hit by some awesome melodies or harmonious guitar leads… and the whole album is filled with aggression and energy that makes the speakers crack. You can see smoke coming out of them, as clearly I’m listening to this hellish stuff way too loud again haha!
For me “Heading Below” is a complete album in the vein of Swedish death metal. There’s not a single bad song, nor a fragment of boredom. And it’s important, because this album is like 50 minutes long. It’s a lot, if we speak about the style of music, where 30-40 minutes seems like optimal time for an album. But if you have quality, time has secondary meaning. It’s important that the music is not one dimensional, that the band managed to come up with a lot of diversity within the genre, with tempo changes, different atmospheres and other such stuff. And more so, it feels like Ulcer wanted to add a bit of their own shit into the rotten traditional Swedish death metal. The result is obviously killer. I have to add also that I love the sound they achieved this time (oh this guitar tone… that dirt in it will remind you such “Indecent & Obscene” straight away), that the vocals (reminding me Sverker Widgren from Demonical a lot) are also great… I can only give positive comments. I have the “repeat” button pressed on, so I keep on playing “Heading Below”. This CD won’t leave my stereo that soon. My neck is broken, but I have not enough.
Standout tracks: “Down Below”, “Sights to See”, “The Phantom Heart”, “Enshrouded in Nothingness”
Final rate: 90/100