Ulthar – Helionomicon

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'Helionomicon' is the second part of Ulthar’s double album that was released on February 17th, 2023 via 20 Buck Spin. Upon listening to 'Anthronomicon', it feels that both of these songs were cut from the same cloth, with each of the two songs having a running time of 20 minutes. Considering the lengthy immersion in dissonance Ulthar somehow managed to bring something that is quite demented and unsettling. Perhaps it’s the use of the avant-garde, odd concepts. Although the similarities to Blood Incantation are merely superficial, the guitars do explore the experimental aspects of the band.

The intersection of death and black metal demonstrates a cohesive and complex riff structure that is composed and executed in the opening track ‘Helionomicon’. The modernist and avant-garde remains deep within the style of black metal, where the trio shifts its focus to tremolo picked-riffs from the old-school death metal. The accelerating guitar work improvises with technical riff. The drums are perfectly layered  as we get tons of blast beats and breakdowns. However, in this kind of experimentation, I would have preferred if Ulthar had ventured deeper into the ambient sound of atmospheric-blackened death metal. At the same time ‘Helionomicon’ is completely atypical and also shows how the band has expanded into complex instrumentation and tight musicianship.

The drums are played furiously in certain tempos. Moreover, the guitars infuse some elements of jazz music and present them as short intervals between the buildup tempo. The shrieking vocals are most dominant and they are used more often than the death metal growls. These sonic features are more apparent on ‘Helionomicon’. The ending moments of this prolonged track mix up elements of cosmic death metal and provide impressive ambient sound that is enhanced by the electronic synthesizers. Yet these closing minutes remain crucial.

Relatively speaking, the trio has managed to step out of the box by writing some complex songs that have some resemblance to their sister album ‘Anthronomicon’. Perhaps Ulthar was supposed to give ample full room for the rhythm to shine. Especially, since their blackened sound is somehow close to the band Immortal. In spite of the lengthy duration of the songs, there is a focused intensity that eschews any kind of repetition. The trio has certainly honed its craft, but the composition is still far from perfection. Being the central piece of the album and my favorite song ‘Anthronomicon’ boasts high intensity and within the next 20 minutes Ulthar delivers an incredible performance.

The rhythm sections break in with superb drumming, played in an organic sense. The driving guitars feed off the solid pounding drums and there is also an innovative work in the guitar riffs that pounds out some dense sludgy riffs. Ulthar prove that their trademark is as original and avant-garde as ever. In short, the trio reinvented their craft in such a short time. First and foremost the guitars are the driving force behind the music, which also remains the most technical aspect of the album.

The drums unleash waves upon waves of blast beats. The guitars are extraordinary in layering the tremolo-picked riffs, and with technicality showcased throughout the album, there is a wide chasm between the two songs. Stylistically, ‘Anthronomicon’ apparently takes an ostensible blackened direction. The only feature that might be lacking are the sonic hooks. Although the two songs are filled with wide-ranging riffs, the riff structure is solid.


  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 8/10

Overall, Ulthar has succeeded in exploring new sonic grounds without any flaws, providing great consistency and solid blackened aggression. If you enjoy bands like Blood Incantation, Tomb Mold and Morbid Angel, then you should consider checking this latest double album by the band.

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