When I heard that Ulthar were back with not just one but two brand new albums, I was very excited but also a bit confused. How can you put out two, brand new full-length albums at the same time and manage to keep them from being too similar? Anthronomicon is toted as being the more traditional album, while Helionomicon boasts in being more experimental (two, 20-minute-long tracks). Admittedly, I’ve been a fan of these guys since the very beginning, discovering them through projects like Extremity and Spirit Possession, so I had faith that they could pull it off. Since the beginning of this bands birth, they have been putting out superb music album after album, and getting better and better. These two albums are absolutely no exception. I am confident in saying that they are the best death metal project of the past few years.
Comprised of only three members and centered around cosmic horror and abstract themes, Ulthar consists of Steve Peacock on bass and vocals (Spirit Possession), Justin Ennis on drums (ex-Tombs, ex-Void Omnia) and Shelby Lermo on guitar and vocals (Vastum, ex-Extremity). You’d be surprised at what these three guys can do to spice up an otherwise, in all honesty, stale genre.
Now let’s get to the good stuff, the first of the two new albums, Anthronomicon. This album is described by 20 Buck Spin as being ”…the embodiment and continued progression of Ulthar’s mastery over its art – always evolving, refining and pushing forward.” This sums up the album so well as it has songs and melodies that, in the beginning, you have no idea where they are headed, yet they manage to loop it all back together to make it sound very different yet incredibly cohesive. That is best Ulthar’s strength by far. Each song is so different from one another and from death metal as a whole, that you never really know where it’s going, but it always gets more exciting as the song progresses. This album is so exhilarating to listen to and best cranked all the way up to 10.
Somehow, the geniuses behind Ulthar continue to break new ground in death metal to keep it fresh, exciting and different. Besides Disma and Chthe’ilist, Ulthar seems to be one of the only bands actually doing something different, and they pulled it off so well this time making Antronomicon my favorite album by them to date, and one of the best death metal albums of the past 5 years. Seriously, just pick up a copy and you will not be disappointed.
Astranumeral Octave Chants (Single): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcr8EF3GBS8
Helionomicon Review: https://www.hellbound.ca/?p=50977