Ulthar
Providence


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fernando Alves CONTRIBUTOR (62 Reviews)
June 12th, 2020 | 118 replies


Release Date: 06/12/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Much more than a successful step forward, Providence is the embodiment of a band that enters the new decade as an extreme metal force to be reckoned with.

We live in exciting times when it comes to extreme metal hybrids, I would even dare to say that nowadays it’s easier to find an interesting hybrid than a more conservative outcome restricted to tight borders. It’s an inevitability that is inherent to a genre that recently turned fifty. Extreme metal has become a creature thirsty to uncover new paths, new nuances, anything that can add some newness to a formula that has been explored incessantly for some decades now. Oakland's Ulthar are among those who swing between aesthetics, orbiting around death and black metal, trying to find a way to reach their own self-identity. I’m aware this is a common goal for most bands, but only a handful of predestined can reach the final destination. Nevertheless, we should not confuse identity with originality. On their terrific debut Cosmovore Ulthar didn't exactly get an original formula, but rather a powerful exclamation of identity. Its consistency and superior quality managed to generate a wave of enthusiasm and strong expectations around the band.

These guys are the real deal.

The first thing that struck me in Providence was its refined production and the more blackened approach than its predecessor, often signs of willingness to shift and evolve. I had a similar feeling when listening to Tomb Mold's Planetary Clairvoyance. Here too, I felt a willingness to renew. I respect paths that avoid stagnation and creative loops, favoring steps forward, even if they're risky and reckless. Which is not the case in Providence, since its aesthetic updates never question the band's DNA, being mostly metamorphosis aimed at creating new nuances. However, the stylistic distinction with its predecessor is all too evident. The Immortal-esque moment in 'Undying Spear' or the Mayhem-esque riff in 'Through Downward Dynasties' are just two samples that highlight this new approach. It seems clear Ulthar intends to explore new textures. The interesting acoustic introduction in 'Undying Spear' is another note worth mentioning as it provides the perfect interlude without being a pretentious display of virtuosity declined from a previous music lesson. The album flows magnificently, without any stagnant or unnecessary pit stops. The interplay between black and death metal is omnipresent and basilar, shining in songs such as the title track or 'Furnace Hibernation', the latter also featuring a noteworthy Bolt Thrower-esque segment. Although Providence presents more blackened tonalities, songs like the straightforward opener 'Churn', 'Narcissus Drowning' or the colossal 'Humanoid Knot' continue to proudly echo the band's old-school death metal foundations, which range from vintage references such as Bolt Thrower, Incantation, Morbid Angel or Demilich to newer imprints like Horrendous, Tomb Mold or Krypts. The trio show unshakeable confidence in their skills by presenting stellar performances, either through their solid rhythmic section or through the riffing and vocals that avoid the standard monochromatic growling. 'Cudgel' is one of the moments where vocals exude greater drama and fluidity. It's hard to find any weak points in Providence as the eight tracks interconnect in a perfect symbiosis, moving like a single organism towards a common goal. This consistency is proof that Ulthar is in full artistic maturity, with a very clear vision of what they are, and what they intend to do with their music.

Much more than a successful step forward, Providence is the embodiment of a band that enters the new decade as an extreme metal force to be reckoned with.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


14380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Decimal rating: 4.2

Album rules.



Full stream:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr-D8H8uxYA

http://listen.20buckspin.com/album/providence



Digging: Convocation - Ashes Coalesce

bloc
June 12th 2020


61799 Comments


Damn what's with every dm album these days having killer album art. Excellent marketing strategy

Digging: Fluke - Puppy

DDDeftoneDDD
June 12th 2020


12505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I knew this rev was coming up! Album is savage.



Tks Notrap

Digging: Maroon - The Cold Heart Of The Sun

Deathconscious
June 12th 2020


24890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stoked for this.

Digging: Shakey Graves - Look Alive

DDDeftoneDDD
June 12th 2020


12505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Just read the rev. One of your best ones imo. The BM leanings are very evident here, while Cosmovore had more of a crust punk infusion.

trilo
June 12th 2020


3299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rips

Digging: As Real - Marveless

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


14380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks a lot D, I appreciate it.

Yeah, black metal is more prevalent here than in Cosmovore.

I love all tracks, my rating could perfectly well be 4.5.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


14380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the feature guys ;)

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


26764 Comments


Nice. I am excited to check this out after work.

The dudes in this band are crazy talented.

Their "side" projects are just as good as this.

Great review.

Digging: Axis of Light - Axis of Light

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


26764 Comments


Steve Peacock in general is like ... the fucking man.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


14380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Spirit!



Yeah, the guys are really talented, everything works like a unit.

Need to check their other projects ASAP.

ShadowRemains
June 12th 2020


25309 Comments


need to hear this

bludngorevidal
June 12th 2020


40 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Gotta give some love to my fellow Bay Area denizens out there

MotokoKusanagi
June 12th 2020


3110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Through Downward Dynasties rips so hard



initial impressions are not as strong as Cosmovore but we'll see how it goes with more listens

slikphuk
June 12th 2020


496 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just ordered my record album slays

Digging: VoidCeremony - Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional...

DDDeftoneDDD
June 12th 2020


12505 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don t know if its as strong as Cosmovore in long term but has a lot more going on fs

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


14380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd say this has a slightly more classy approach, with cleaner production, but I love both.

dbizzles
June 12th 2020


14142 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This rules so hard. Feels like a nice step up to me. Undying Spear and the title tack are my favorites atm.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


14380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Undying Spear rules. Cudgel and Humanoid Knot are also among my favorites.

JayEnder
June 13th 2020


7318 Comments


Strong review as usual man! m/

Gotta give this another listen before I can rate it.



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