When you’re in a band with a deep catalog, it can be hard to escape the long shadow of your own history. New Zealand trio Ulcerate set a ground-shattering precedent with 2009’s Everything Is Fire and its 2011 follow-up The Destroyers of All, netting praise from critics and fans alike for their innovative approach to technical death metal. But as the years have gone on, they’ve begun to weather the same accusations that typically plague a band of their stature: they’ve gone stale simply because they’re not young anymore. But to levy those charges is to miss the point; Ulcerate’s lasting impact isn’t their their innovation—it’s their consistency.
On Shrines To Paralysis, Ulcerate continue to prove that their unparalleled power and range. On tracks like “Abrogation,” Ulcerate shift from cascading Immolation-meets-Neurosis riffage to precise blasting with breathtaking ease. They operate fast and heavy on “There Are No Saviors,” stepping back mid-song into a pummeling doom riff to observe the broken earth below. Paul Kelland uses his deep bellow to detail nature’s pugilism; the lyrics warn of chasms of fire, flushed only by “floods born of malign neglect.” (Climate change deniers, they are not.) Taken in full, Paralysis feels like the first shock waves of that coming destruction.