Review Summary: This might just be the defining release of one of the most atmospheric, and possibly even most intellectual, contemporary death metal bands.
Within the sphere of death metal, a band’s greatest challenge is, generally speaking, finding a unique sound. Granted, an assault of riffs is more than enough to get a fair amount of fans, but it is originality that separates the truly memorable, timeless bands from the swarms of enjoyable, but ultimately harmless, ensembles. This, perhaps, made Ulcerate’s breakthrough album, Everything Is Fire
, all the more fascinating: on it, the band had created a satisfyingly-unique niche for themselves by relying less on actual riffs (make no mistake, though, there were plenty of those, regardless) and more on atmosphere. Now, with the release of The Destroyers Of All
, New Zealand's premier death-metal band has improved their formula and created a masterpiece that solidifies their position among the best in the genre.
On The Destroyers Of All
, chaotic drumming, ominous, crushing riffs and absolutely lethal production create a wall of noise that utterly overwhelms the listener. However, the band adds a whole new side to this approach with their use of atmospherics: the riffs are still there, and so are the roaring vocals and overpowering drums, but they’re only means to an end, rather than the focal points - their purpose is merely to generate a dense, apocalyptic atmosphere. And they’re entirely successful: The Destroyers Of All
is drenched with a powerful, magnificent darkness that engulfs and consumes the listener relentlessly. Such an atmosphere is created on the album by a blend foreboding, mid-tempo riffs with impossibly fast and complex drumming - a technique that is as unconventional as it is effective.
The Destroyers Of All
also sees the band become a more mature unit that is not afraid to take risks and push the boundaries of its genre. This is best demonstrated by the two final songs, Omens and The Destroyers Of All, both of which approach ten minutes in length. Starting with a soft melody accompanied by faint cymbal crashes, the two-part composition keeps on growing and growing until it becomes a monstrous, corrosive cacophony that crushes anything in its path; and yet, it is laced with brief quiet moments that manage to be every bit as frightening as the crescendos and climaxes.
True to its title, The Destroyers Of All
is a powerful, fierce, and, above all, destructive release perhaps the most intelligent contemporary metal band. Like Death and Gorguts before them, Ulcerate manages to once again push the boundaries of death metal further than we previously thought possible.