Ulthar – Anthronomicon (20 Buck Spin)

Wednesday, 22nd February 2023
Rating: 8 / 10

Note: If you’re looking for the review for Helionomicon, click here.

Here’s the scoop: death metallers Ulthar are releasing two full-length albums on the same day, titled Anthronomicon and Helionomicon respectively. We’ll be focusing on Anthronomicon in this review, which is eight songs more akin to the band’s well-known output of genre bending blackened death metal. If you want to check out our thoughts on Helionomicon, which is the more experimental of the two releases, you can do so here. Each album contains 1/2 of the overall artwork, and when placed side-by-side, you’ll see the full artwork as one large piece. Got it? I hope so!

Both of these albums can be seen as half of a whole, but as mentioned previously, there are different paths taken. With Anthronomicon, we have a similar feel to that of predecessor Providence, but with enough variance to stand on its own.

“Cephalophore” begins our journey, and wastes literally no time to blast into a varied guitar gymnastics that would make Artificial Brain proud, but with a black metal tinge vocally. This one will scramble the brain a bit with the constant time signature changes. “Fractional Fortresses” is more firmly entrenched in black metal stylings (a hint of Absu, perhaps) and straightforward, while changing the tempo enough to keep it interesting.

“Saccades” leads with a heavy drum/rhythm guitar assault that is thick and foreboding, before easing on the gas temporarily, while ending on a more brutal note before a somber outro. “Flesh Propulsion” and “Coagulation of Forms” bring more frenetic chaos, “Astranumeral Octave Chants” splits its time between death/black/thrash transitions, while “Larynx” carries a strong hint of Deathspell Omega in its structure. Finale “Cultus Quadrivium” is the longest and most interesting song on Anthronomicon; the first half being reminiscent of Gorguts-style precision, with the second half being a creepy ambient piece slightly backed by heavy rhythm guitars.

Anthronomicon shows Ulthar flexing much of their technical muscle, sometimes with dizzying results. A few tracks provide standout moments – “Cultus Quadrivium” is of note – while others sometimes are more explosions of high level instrumentation. There’s a lot of depth, and it won’t all hit on the first listen. Patience is key to getting the most out of this album, and within the chaotic nature of Anthronomicon is an album that’s deliberate in its approach that ultimately results in a varied and intriguing listen.

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