Ulcus- Cherish The Obscure
Band Homeland: Norway
Band Homepage: http://home.no.net/candalt/default.html
Label Homepage: None Found
Released in 2000 on Shiver Records, “Cherish The Obscure” is the second full length CD out of four offerings from this Norwegian quintet. Indeed, “Cherish The Obscure” could not have been a better title for this album, as to date I am the only person I have met that has even heard of this band, let alone heard the album. This opinion seems to be shared by the band as well, seeing how the “Line Up” section of their homepage is titled “Who The Hell Is Ulcus?”. Admittedly, I bought this album based only on the brief description provided by the distribution company that was selling this CD. That, plus the attractive price tag contributed to the decision to purchase this album. It was a risk, but The Dark Gods of Metal have always guided my hand, and in this case, I “discovered” an amazing band.
Consisting of 9 songs with a total playing time of 47:11, “Cherish The Obscure” is an album with a very heavy Melodic Black Metal sound with slight Death Metal influence. And while there are parts of the album that are very light, don’t confuse this with popish fluff. This album surprises you by changing from beautiful melody to pure straightforward brutality. There is something very original about Ulcus that escapes my definition right now, but I like it.
The production on this album is outstanding, which was surprising. I expected it to be much more raw. And the musicianship of the members is excellent. Most notably it is in the keys, which have the perfect tone and arrangement for this kind of music. Unlike so many other bands, Ulcus uses keys without screwing them up. The drumming is complicated and very well executed, and has many “filler runs” as opposed to playing a straight-out beat. This is another reason this album stands out to me.
The guitar work is very good, with original riffs and great leads during some songs. The guitar shares the “lead spot” with the keys in spots, but like I mentioned before, the keys are very well done so this does not detract from the album for me at all. The vocals are totally hateful. Forced growls and angry shouts more so than the shrieking bitter sound that one would normally find on an album like this. The music overall has a deep and dark sound, trading outright brutality at times for a more mellow yet undeniably sinister sound. Every song has depth and layering that gives it a very distinctive feeling, and creates a common feeling throughout the entire album.
Overall, I find this album thoroughly enjoyable and it never grows old, no matter how many times I hear it.
Vortex Of Vengeance