Everything is Fire

After the clinical tech death assault that was Of Fracture and Failure, New Zealand’s Ulcerate has made a few changes to their sound and thankfully replaced vocalist Ben Reed (bassist Paul Keland now performs vocals) and the end result is yet another simply killer Willowtip release and one of the most striking death metal albums of 2009 (and beyond).

Whereas Of Fracture and Failure was a more surgical dervish that hinted at some twisted Deathspell Omega throes, Everything is Fire fully embraces the atonal slicing of Deathspell Omega and adds the murkier, backwards discordance of Immolation making a death metal album that’s an oppressively claustrophobic listen and seethes with blistering dissonance and tangible malevolence at every turn.

From the opening lurch of “Drown Within” it’s obvious that Everything is Fire is not a nice, clean tidy tech death metal album. And when the song does eventually explode it’s a vortex of undulating, squealing riffs and unpredictable percussive patterns that’s hard to wrap your head around in one listen or even many casual listens. The lengthy tracks that comprise Everything is Fire need to be absorbed completely as the sonic voracity of every note literally seeps into every vein and pore of your being, deeper with each listen. Tracks like the monstrous “Withered and Obsolete”, “Caecus” with its mind fucking ambient refrains (cementing the Deathspell Omega influence), and utterly chaotic climax, scrawling shitstorm of “Tyranny” and the compeltely schizophrenic, psychotic structures of the title track all deliver those rare, indescribable moments that make you challenge your expectations of what death metal is and should be in the future.

The rougher, muddier production suits the style shift perfectly as do Keland’s more suitable, gruffer vocals, which are smartly mixed to be in the background somewhat. And thusly Everything is Fire is that rare Altars of Madness, Effigy of the Forgotten, type of death metal album that raises the bar and sets the standard for the genre for the next few years, though not everyone will immediately feel that way.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 4th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Larry "Staylow" Owens

    Nice write up Erik. I should check this out.

  2. Commented by: loxodont

    This album will not be topped by any other death metal album this year. It is simply impossible. It is no stretch to compare Everything is Fire to Alters of Madness or Effigy of the Forgotten, it is simply that amazing, that genre-defining. Roughly 20 listens are needed to begin to grasp the work. The title track has to be the most monolithic death metal track I have ever heard. If Immolation has not heard this record they must. They would simply applaud; comforted by the fact that another collective has chosen the murkier path of technical death metal–one where a song is more than a few parts, an album more than a couple of songs. Everything is Fire is a must listen. Spot on review.

  3. Commented by: Rev

    Holy hell, Erik. That’s an epic review. Time to open the wallet…

  4. Commented by: slimylimey

    Great review Erik. I just checked these guys out and holy shit that’s some freakishly good stuff. Guess I’m getting my wallet out too…

  5. Commented by: vugelnox

    I was unimpressed by the scattershot, very clinical and unfocused sound of Of Fracture and Failure but this sounds much more promising, I shall be giving it a listen!

  6. Commented by: Stiffy

    I’m into this and this is totally not my thing.

  7. Commented by: Barfneck

    Surprised there wasn’t a nod to post metal since there’s obviously a huge influence on the sound of this album. Best death metal album in years.

  8. Commented by: vugelnox

    wow no kidding this is damn good! Vastly superior to their previous efforts by a rather large margin. Right on with the DSO reference and for the rawer sound and more claustrophobic atmosphere I detect a bit of the mighty Immolation, a very good thing!

    Not usually a fan of technical death metal but already for 09 this, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Obscura have scored a lot of points with me. Warms my heart to see a few bands pulling this stuff off so well!

  9. Commented by: Ryan

    I was very lukewarm with their last album, but this is a great write up. I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Obscura for a while now, so I suppose it’s time to start digesting this beast.

  10. Commented by: Alex

    Best death metal album since Gorguts’ Obscura, and the best snare sound I’ve heard in years (especially comes through in the clean parts).

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