Re-Fuse Me



by SmallMess USER (8 Reviews)
May 12th, 2024 | 0 replies

Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: German depression turns manic.

Sludge metal is one of those genres that I appreciate for how diverse it can be. Similar to its predecessor, grunge, it groups together a wide variety of bands that may not seem like they have a lot in common, from the intense, blood-boiling Acid Bath to the slow burn of Grief. It's one of those genres where the "feel" plays a major part in the experience, as pretentious as it may sound, and despite its simplicity, the scene spawned quite a number of unique-sounding bands. This does have one immediate downside: if you already have certain preferences in the genre, you're probably going to have little to do once you've picked out a handful of favorites, since sludge can't exactly compare to more established subsets of metal in terms of quantity. Which, of course, makes it all the more exciting to find a new band that's exactly up your alley.

"New" is subjective in this case, however: Ulme have been around since the 90's, just not internationally known, which seems to be the case with a number of fantastic German bands. Their 1995 debut Re-Fuse Me takes a lot of pointers from the grunge movement, leaning towards the more intense end of the scale as a result, with frontman Arne's neurotic croon often breaking into manic screeching. The band waste no time letting the listener know what they're in for, the opener "Hating Yours" bluntly asking "Why don't you kill yourself now?" A lesser band would not make this work, but the excellent vocal delivery paired with a simple catchy riff drenched in fuzz absolutely seals the deal, and it helps that the song does not overstay its welcome, speeding up to hardcore punk pace by the very end before ending abruptly. Following up is a real earworm - "Remind Me", boasting a hook that Nirvana wouldn't be ashamed of, as well as a similar loud-quiet-loud dynamic, but distinct enough that the band's own personality is felt in every note.

While the faster songs are frantic screams of anger of frustration, the tension does not fade in the slower moments either. "Suck My Heart" is a great example of that, being eight and a half minutes long and building up the pressure with a bass-driven two-chord riff before the vocals once again explode in your face in a barrage of noise before the cycle repeats again. Slow ominous buildups are certainly something that Ulme love in general and are very good at - "So What?" showcases that as well, switching between clean chords with the singing shoved in the back of the mix and walls of sound where the screaming tears through the distortion, all of that carried in 3/4 time by the hypnotic drums. The album closer, "Dark Days", deserves a mention as well. As per tradition, it's the slowest and longest song on the record, clocking in at over 14 minutes, with the guitar becoming more and more distorted until it begins clipping and the frontman practically speaking in tongues before the air is gradually let out of the band, leaving behind just a barely audible saxophone solo.

All things considered, Re-Fuse Me is a must-listen for any sludge metal fan, but you may enjoy it just as much if you prefer grunge or noise rock, and this band may, in fact, help bridge the gap between the genres. With all-around excellent performances and great songwriting, Ulme deserve more recognition by people outside their home country, so give it a spin if you'd like to hear something mighty and abrasive.

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