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.
So how experimental does this album turn out to be? Well it certainly isn’t nearly as weird as bands like Portal, Gorguts or Impetuous Ritual but if you threw this on for an Obituary fan, it would certainly be a bit foreign to them. I honestly can’t picture any death metal song that’s 20 minutes long, let a lone two of them back-to-back. Helionomicon comes off like an experimental orchestra, with it’s long and winding melodies. The two tracks feel like a journey they take you on, down a rotting street in a city made entirely of flesh, with the music making you visualize the vast hellscape they are portraying. Helionomicon certainly isn’t for the impatient, and get’s better with each listen but yet again, Ulthar are innovating in ways we didn’t know were possible.
“Helionomicon is an 8 piece puzzle of labyrinthine tumult, it takes those elements and creates two towering 20 minute monoliths of radiant avant-garde immensity.” This is an album of immaculate construction, that demands the attention of the listener in order to derive any value from it whatsoever. That payoff for the patient is huge, and those who stick to the end will certainly fully understand the brilliance of this monolithic creation.
Anthronomicon Track Excerpt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRxgJkBazHQ
Anthronomicon Review: https://www.hellbound.ca/?p=50969