‘Anthronomicon’ compiles vicious intricate compositions into an organic clarity. Although there are tons of dissonant riffing and jarring transitions, the magnitude of the album unfolds through the guitar textures and blazing tremolos. Enter the maze of Ulthar’s sonic concoction with the opening track ‘Cephalophore’ showcasing the dynamics of the trio’s technical sound. The rhythm guitars illustrate the interplay between the dual fiendish growls and brutal drumming outbursts. Unleashing a sonic barrage of black/death metal the new tracks are filled with intensity and the vocals are aggressive, coming in two different pitches. The fourth album doesn’t change the fact that Ulthar has written some vicious riffs and certain songs like ‘Fractional Fortresses’ which is a straightforward black metal track laid out in tremolo-picked riffs.
The guitars have a solid black metal touch and they’re handled by the sheer technicality of Shelby Lermo backed by the brisk tempo drums of Justin Ennis. Ulthar brings its relentless style by adding different elements such as the cold atmosphere of the rhythm guitars and screeching black metal vocals. While slowing down in some parts, the guitar riffs on this album are a juggernaut of blistering speed. Songs like ‘Saccades’ brings forth the dual identity of Ulthar in injecting fast guitar riffs and with the stellar Scandinavian blackened melodies offering slow tempos and grooves, the fiendish vocals of Steve Peacock add depth and power to the song.
While there are some slower parts within the eight songs the guitar work ranges from melodic and technical notes to fast riffing. ‘Anthronomicon’ features a great performance from the trio showing wonderful and refined song structures. The percussion on the album gives a loud presence and the atmosphere offers the main focus for the riffs. ‘Anthronomicon’ sees Ulthar moving in its own unique territory. In fact, the guitar work stands out from the band’s previous albums. ‘Flesh Propulsion’ fuses the abrasive raw death metal riffing and blackened rhythm with their pounding distinctive sound and gives the atmosphere of an unworldly vibe.
The eldritch growls bring some diversity to the songs, pulling brutal cavernous growls that will please the fans of Lovecraftian death metal. The powerful blackened riffs carry on, dominating songs like ‘Astranumeral Octave Chants’ which is packed with a vicious slab of brutality fusing a fierce combination of tremolos, blasting drums and mid-paced chugging riffs. Both Shelby Lermo, Steve Peacock and Justin Ennis have mastered a variety of sonic experiences on ‘Anthronomicon’. Even though the songs are more traditional, they are stuffed with dense instrumentation. There are some subtle influences from bands like Demilich, Morbid Angel and Tomb Mold. The characteristic sound of the trio doesn’t feels forced, but rather comes as a unique identity, Moreover, the ambient parts in some of the songs provide a sort of cosmic feel that conjures images of the deep space.
‘Coagulation of Forms’ is one of the band’s most technically accomplished songs. Complex aural ingredients, all cunningly carried out by swift blistering drums, technical guitar proficiency and songwriting skills, seem to work well in perfect harmony between the complex fills and the relentlessly merciless, explosive tempos. Throughout the album the guitars encompass plenty of dissonant riffs creating an off-kilter sound that Morbid Angel could have influenced. Despite the chaotic brutality in ‘Larynx Plateau’ the guitars inject blackened riffing while the drumming provides an intense level of aggression showing the ability to emphasize speed and dexterity.
The classic traits of thrash metal are instilled into the songs as there are many details that are brought by the scathing and raw guitar riffs that make ‘Anthronomicon’ sharply edged by a brimming amount of these straightforward tremolos. The album ends with the six-minute track ‘Cultus Quadrivium’ which is chock-full of barrage guitar riffs. The riffing sets up an engaging mid-tempo pace that juxtaposes the grooves and infectious hooks right into the mix.
- Music / Songwriting 9/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
- Mix / Production 9/10
- Artwork & Packaging 9/10
- Originality 9/10
At forty-one minutes of engaging the listener in chaotic dynamics and chugging guitars, Ulthar unfolds a remarkable blackened death metal mayhem in the most technical and modern form of sonic complexity.