Grant Us Death
Bands like Behemoth, Vader and Azarath have over the years crafted what is now come to be known as the Polish death metal sound. Ulcer, coming from the same lands as the aforementioned, however has a sound that leans more towards their Swedish counterparts, with Grant Us Death being their sophomore full lenth album, the first new material in almost 6 years since their debut in 2007, Serpent Trinity.
After the haunting intro, complete with clean guitars and sounds of a brewing storm, Ulcer quickly jumps into action, crushing the listener with the intensity of their brand of Swedish old school death metal. The gritty guitar tone instantly reminds one of bands like Entombed and Nihilist, and as the band begins their onslaught the similarities become all the more obvious, in particular the song structures and the furious d-beat attack of drummer Wizun. The riffing patterns on songs like Devilspeed even brings about comparisons to bands such as Bloodbath. There are even some rather punkish moments what with the background shouting by the rest of the band, helping to accentuate the fury and anger that is in the band’s music and lyrics. The dual vocal attack of D. and Angelfuck is probably one of the more unique aspects of the band, and with the slightly different register of each of the vocalists, help to make for a more aggressive sounding record.
Unlike most other old school Swedish death metal emulators, Ulcer attempts to create a more balanced record containing faster and more aggressive moments and slower and more retrospective ones, and this is most evident on the leads that are on the album. Apart from the chaotic ones that tear shit up like those on Devilspeed, at the same time the album also contains some rather melodic solos, bringing in a slight calm amidst the destruction going around, though at times these can serve the dual purpose of helping to reinforce the haunting mood in the music as well.
I gotta admit, my preference for Polish bands is still for them to play in the Polish tradition, but what Ulcer has crafted on Grant Us Death is undeniably some good, old school Swedish death metal, and there is nothing really to complain about this release.