1. Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
Complex, challenging and as daunting as traversing the labyrinthine tunnels of hell itself, Ulcerate’s Shrine Of Paralysis was a sublime moment from a band who’d been building to this level of sheer genius for years.
Shrine Of Paralysis was technical but not in a traditional sense, leaning instead towards complex chord structure as opposed to shred-fests of finger-melting speed. To put an annoyingly cloy name to this noise would be to describe it as post-death metal but that would also do those moments when Ulcerate perforate your eardrums with uncompromising brutality a considerable disservice. As introspective and challenging as this album was it was still a death metal album at heart, a suffocatingly dense death metal album fraught with human frailty, but a death metal album nonetheless.
Dense and uncompromising, Ulcerate ultimately unearthed raw emotion fed through a progressively-minded death metal filter. It was utterly human and as nihilistic as being human fundamentally is, resulting in a work of pure ‘art’ in a scene that generally favours pummelling violence over philosophical soliloquy.
Honourable mentions: Aborted – Retrogore / Vibrion – Bacterya / Scorched – Echoes Of Dismemberment / Wormed – Krighsu / Omnihility – Dominion of Misery.