The Ugly – Thanatology

It has been a while since I listened to this Swedish bands sophomore “Decreation” released in 2015, an album I reviewed for another outlet and was mightily impressed with the said opus as the band now unleashes their third barbaric assault. The inauspicious start to the album bears no resemblance to the sonic violence wrought after it phases out, as the sequential build-up of the opening title track is mercilessly eradicated. The caustic vocals imbue a sense of cruelness within the songs as the opener is totally remorseless in its speed. The bands last album was centrally focused around vitriolic black metal and whilst the framework of the songs is black metal they splice in other subgenres very subtly such as thrash and death metal such as the ravenous and voracious 'The Stages Of Demise' that hints at Witchery in places though this is a hell of a lot faster.

'Usurpator Vitae' is one of those songs that implants into your head because of its awesome bone brittling riff that hints at similarities to acts such as 1349, Marduk, Gorgoroth and Dark Funeral, to give you some idea of where this stands musically. The song is slow, not quite funereal but has fetid corrosiveness delivered by that memorable riff as the song saunters merrily along taking acerbic pot-shots during the intermittent blasts. This release is about riffs and every song is festooned with slicing savagery such as the death metal posture within 'King Of Death' which has a pummelling bass drum beat interspersed with insanely fast blast sections. There is an incendiary couplet of songs that starts with the annihilating 'Necro Worship' and ends with the blistering speed of 'Sons Of Stench'. I mention them because they contrast with 'Temple Of The Reaper' which isn’t to say this song is slow, far from it, the song exudes a more progressive angle on the riff enshrouding it in an envelope of blackened phantasmagoria.

That progressivity stretches its tendrils into 'Begravningshym' smoothly flowing into an atmospheric backdrop of permeating dread made more so by the malignant vocals which have a choking aura. That spine-chilling ethos spills into the guitar riff which has that distorted poisonous lingering tone that bores deep into your soul and as the song steadily intensifies the drum work produces an apical sonic violation. A very serene interlude, 'Pallor Mortis' precedes 'Dressed In Death Pt. II' which I am assuming is a reworking of the original 'Dressed In Death' from the band’s debut album, “Slaves To The Decay”. Even though the production is different and not necessarily better I am not sure a reworking was necessary as I like the original just as much, but that is just my personal slant as the album ends with a bonus track called 'Necromancer' that has a borderline heavy metal riff rather than a blackened one, making the song very accessible before stepping on the speed making the song very thrash like and manic.

Sweden’s The Ugly can boast that they have released yet another excellent black metal album that has built on their previous work to yield and uncompromising and slaughtering album.

  1. Thanatology
  2. The Stages Of Demise
  3. Usurpator Vitae
  4. King Of Death
  5. Necro Worship
  6. Sons Of Stench
  7. Temple Of The Reaper
  8. Begravningshymn
  9. Pallor Mortis
  10. Dressed In Death Pt. II
  11. Necromancer