Ulcerate: Vermis

New Zealand’s deathly deviants summon the dark side

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A million miles away from the toothless uniformity of much modern death metal, Ulcerate have espoused a grim gospel of churning dissonance and surreal violence for a decade now and Vermis represents their true coming of age.

In much the same way that bands like Gorguts and Portal endeavour to conjure hellish Lovecraftian worlds of sound, these New Zealanders eschew traditional form and structure in favour of an acrid, belching swamp of jarring riffs and rhythms, all delivered by musicians whose shared telepathy is leading to ever more devastating levels of intuition and conviction.

Not so much songs as isolated nosedives into a bottomless pit of amorphous noise and bad vibrations, the likes of Clutching Revulsion and The Imperious Weak never forget their spiritual link to death metal’s ancient history, but there is an overwhelming lust for invention and subversion here that ensures that every violent brushstroke delivers colours of mesmerising vivacity.

Those who like their extreme metal to arrive neatly constructed and polished should look elsewhere, but if a one-way ticket to the abyss sounds appealing, Vermis could actually change your life.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.