Ulsect by UlsectRelease date: May 12, 2017
Label: Season of Mist
Earlier this year I reviewed Kwintessens by Dodecahedron and whilst to some the eponymous debut from Dutch band Ulsect may fall into the same category, its careful nuances and dreaded doom-fueled atmospheres shift it into perhaps a more suffocating entity. Ulsect feature ex members of Textures and current members of the aforementioned Dodecahedron. This five piece take you through eight tracks of consuming chaos that are not for the feint of heart.
Let’s take a look at that cover. I see a volcanic region seething with smoke and decay. An ominous starry black circle takes centre stage and the ashen grey hues of the cover suck the life from the photo, as does the void. This is how I see it, perceive what you may. This image can loosely describe Ulsect’s music though there is far more depth and clarity to this summary.
Ulsect were made to assault the senses, battering the listener relentlessly with harsh unforgiving walls of noise and discordant oppression. ‘Fall To Depravity’ inflicts this immediate impact with thumping huge basslines and dizzying atonal guitars before breaking midway. The instruments almost deteriorate, slip away gracefully into gradual descent before unleashing a swarm of dissonant seething guitars and a furious bombardment of blast beats, heralding a chaotic finish. If there was ever a statement of what Ulsect are about this introductory track is surely it. Take another look at that cover and tell me you don’t see the music reflected in it!
‘Unveil’ may be a more vicious and caustic track. Moments fracture and seizure into a volatile state whilst others fall into a void where its vacuum consumes your being. Ulsect have showcased a deft understanding of the nauseating dread sickness that this genre evokes, piling on layer upon layer of hatred, claustrophobia, and utter inhumanity as is further explored in tracks such as ‘Diminish’. The unbearable weight of its soundscapes is at times impenetrable, only allowing the dust to clear for brief moments of soul-harrowing respite. A track-by-track is ultimately of no use as each song presented here follows the same code of expansive chaos, built to be music that begs to be devoured as a whole.
Whilst maybe not the most intense in voluminal terms the drum work on this album is near flawless, precise and combating, attributed to a commendable turn from Dodecahedron blast master Jasper Barendregt. Ulsect play the game smartly, often opting for deafening barrages of noise rather than relying on the blast beat to bludgeon home sensory havoc. Its complexity is sublime, almost mathematical in its assault. As much of a blast beat whore as I am, Ulsect dissect each track and only insert a carefully plotted frenzy when needed.
The sound simply decimates, the mix is layered with as much sonic headfuckery as can be squeezed in, which truly gets the blood rushing through the head, giving you a sense of floating in deep space with a hammer and rusty nails clattering about in your helmet. Ulsect can take you into meditative thought and reduce you to rubble within seconds. Very rarely does a band produce such an intelligent debut, and what they produce next will surely startle one’s auditory perception that one step further. When you hear that thunderous clap in the sky, take cover as Ulsect are coming!