Reviews – God’s Throat Cut

Reviews – God’s Throat Cut

As Ulcerate approaches their 25th anniversary, the New Zealand-based death metal band continues to defy genre conventions with their latest release, “Cutting the Throat of God.” This album showcases their unique ability to blend various elements of death metal without losing their core identity. The band’s sound remains abstract yet riff-heavy, melodic yet dissonant, walking a fine line between experimental and traditional death metal.

The album’s title, “Cutting the Throat of God,” suggests a shift towards black metal, but Ulcerate’s music transcends simple genre labels. This record is a complex tapestry of aural brutality, technical prowess, and atmospheric depth. The shortest track, “To Flow Through Ashen Hearts,” clocks in at seven minutes, yet it’s a dense composition that transitions from delicate guitar meditations to bombastic chord changes and intricate beat switches. The song’s structure is reminiscent of newer Katatonia albums but with extreme vocals, effortlessly blending tremolo flourishes with gnarled chugs.

Drummer Jamie Saint Merat’s performance is particularly noteworthy, bringing a jazz-like spontaneity to the rhythmic interplay. This is evident in tracks like “The Dawn is Hollow,” where unique chord voicings and chilling melodies create a memorable heaviness that invites headbanging. Comparisons to Tool are not far-fetched, given Ulcerate’s immersive and transient progressive structures. “Further Opening the Wounds” exemplifies this, with its frigid minor-key refrains cutting through the jagged intensity, making it easy to get lost in the sonic maze.

Guitarist Michael Hoggard’s mad-scientist approach to riff writing, combined with Merat’s off-kilter grooves, results in a sound that can be described as a bizarro take on Dissection-style blackened death metal. The eerie crescendo of “Transfiguration In and Out of Worlds” keeps listeners guessing with its rhythmic syncopations and acrobatic fretwork, ensuring the songs remain tasteful rather than showy.

Ulcerate’s ability to build a world with sound is evident in tracks like “To See Death Just Once.” The term “post-death metal” might not be widely recognized, but it aptly describes the band’s approach. They use blistering speed and discordant mayhem to create an atmospheric experience, much like how a band like Isis uses reverb swells. The nine-and-a-half-minute epic “Undying as an Apparition” showcases Ulcerate’s knack for weaving complex, transfixing tapestries of sound, always finding their way to cathartic arrival points.

The album’s title track is one of Ulcerate’s most accessible songs to date. While bassist and vocalist Paul Kelland doesn’t sing harmonies, the more elating chord voicings stand out amidst the shrill tremolo lines and unpredictable drumming. The incorporation of melody into such a deep, dark soundscape doesn’t detract from the extremity or darkness; instead, it elevates the album above most other death metal releases.

Listening to Ulcerate often leads to profound moments of reflection, especially when considering the band’s previous works like “Stare into Death and Be Still,” “Shrines of Paralysis,” “Vermis,” “The Destroyers of All,” and “Everything Is Fire.” Each album delves deeper into the human psyche, culminating in their latest release. “Cutting the Throat of God” continues this tradition, blending technicality and atmosphere into what can only be described as meditative chaos.

The emotional weight of the album is immediately apparent in the opener, “To Flow Through Ashen Hearts.” The track interweaves tempo changes, hypnotic soaring notes, and beautifully disordered riffing, creating a sense of being slowly torn apart by the stress of a black hole. The song descends into a hellish pit of guttural vocals, tremolo picking, and hefty chords, setting the tone for the rest of the album.

“The Dawn Is Hollow” follows with a depressive atmosphere, enhanced by reverbed arpeggios and catchy melodies. The album’s suffocating heaviness is not limited to its most intense tracks. “Further Opening the Wounds” and “Transfiguration In and Out of Worlds” demonstrate that Ulcerate can create psychological heaviness without relying solely on blast beats or eight-string guitars.

“To See Death Just Once” gathers the most vital elements of the preceding tracks, creating a monolith of tension and polyrhythms. The album’s production is top-notch, matching the thickness and depth of “Stare into Death and Be Still.” The near-10-minute epic “Undying as an Apparition” keeps listeners engaged with its complex structure and emotional depth.

The title track, “Cutting the Throat of God,” serves as a fitting finale, delivering a heavy, atmospheric, and cathartic experience. While it may not surpass the grandiose “Dissolved Orders” from their previous album, it comes close, showcasing Ulcerate’s ability to create a powerful closing statement.

In 2024, “Cutting the Throat of God” is exactly what fans hoped for from a new Ulcerate album: a fusion of unfathomable heaviness, methodical technicality, and otherworldly atmosphere. The New Zealand trio has reached a point in their careers where excellence is expected with each release, and this album does not disappoint. Despite its name, there are no open wounds to cauterize on “Cutting the Throat of God.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top