Ulcerate Vermis

After a couple albums on respected indie Willowtip, New Zealand technical death-grinders Ulcerate have hopped to Relapse for their fourth disc. Those familiar with Ulcerate's considerably thick and intense back catalogue know what to expect: huge songs that go on for days, filled with gigantic death metal riffs, technical grindcore and a great deal of the unexpected. Take the title track, which drops riffs as heavy as sludge while the drums inappropriately blast away before making way for some technical madness, a sudden stop into thoughtful terrain and then a doom outro. "Clutching Revulsion" makes the most out of blast beats played overtop of slow-moving doom riffs — a sound that always works amazingly. By the time seventh track "The Imperious Weak" comes along, it's understandable if you need a coffee break to sit back and consider what has transpired. However, it's not a jigsaw puzzle of pain; it all makes sense and has a purpose — a reason. The vibe conjures Gojira gone extreme or ex-labelmates Gigan — just this huge sound that's crushing and unique, technical, but also has room to breathe. There's definitely a purpose; it just takes a great deal of effort to get to the rewarding core without giving up in exhaustion. (Relapse)