Review: Ulthar - Anthronomicon and Helionomicon
The trio known as Ulthar popped into my world with their debut full-length and 20 Buck Spin debut, Cosmovore. The name, Ulthar, taken from a name of a village in the Cthulhu Mythos, and the accompanying artwork instantly caught my attention. If you're familiar with said album, the music floored me. This was further solidified by their follow-up Providence. Prior work easily had me hyped up on their new release and when I found out it was in essence a double album the hype was even higher.
A twisted maze of angular riffs, whirlwind time signatures, frightening screams from the depths, two feet equally rooted in both death and black metal, and blazing with technical wizardry has become a staple of Ulthar's sound in the underground world of metal. It's not easy to create a signature sound, but I really feel they have.
Apparently, all three lost their jobs during the pandemic. A terrible situation was made better by the fact that they were able to write new material to bless us with not one, but two releases at the same time. Furthering there is nothing really run of the mill with them.
Anthronomicon the band states is the easier of the two on the ears. It continues where they left off on Providence, but continues to push boundaries further. Never one to rest on their laurels and being one in the crowd, their craft is honed to precision. Incredibly, it's all made by just three individuals. The electronic ambient synth has been present in their releases before, but this sees them fully realizing the potential of it to add to the horror soundscape. Their blackened death approach toeing the line between pandaemonium and structure really is a breath of fresh air in a scene that is too often fine just emulating the genre's past.
Anthronomicon takes all we've come to know from the band and betters it. It's a fully realized sound it seems, but knowing them, nothing is ever fully realized as they continue to grow. Helionomicon is Ulthar at its most dense. The 2nd part of this double release is comprised of two roughly 20-minute songs. It is them at their most challenging. These two songs are not long drawn-out pieces or complete departures from their sound. It's Ulthar, but more. The ambient pieces are more present and add more layers to the sound.
This double release finds Ulthar reaching new heights that were already quite high. It is music that should be on a lot of people's favorites of the year. Anthronomicon and Helionomicon demand respect and rightfully so deserve it.