Six albums deep into their discography, with nary a dud in the bunch, New Zealand’s Ulcerate hardly requires introduction. The extreme metal three-piece carries an unlikely musical lineage from both Neurosis and Gorguts, specializing in technical and brutal post-death that has pushed Ulcerate into the cutting edge of extreme metal that we’ve only just begun to see the influence of in the genre’s continued evolution. The band’s distinctive sound pairs an incredibly technical and intricate rhythm section with swarming, chaotic guitars that lend well to both suffocating walls of sound and passages of contemplative post-metal, often within the context of a single track. It’s a formula that the band have been perfecting since their 2007 debut Of Fracture and Failure and seemingly mastering by their watershed third album. 2011’s Destroyers of All.
In their much anticipated follow-up to Mariner, the band returned to their core writing mode free of outside collaborators for their Metal Blade debut A Dawn To Fear, and have simplified their songwriting process to eschew a full-album concept, instead offering a collection of independent songs without preconceptions in the writing process. The result of this experiment is a record that is massive, plodding, expansive, and pensive, if not daunting and exhausting for those who aren't too keen on The Big Slow™