Ultio – Self Titled (2009)

Another CD I've had lurking in my reviews pile for a while – sorry fellas! Having finally played it here's the Chopmeister's appraisal...

This independent release has four tracks and runs for just under sixteen minutes. “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” has an impact opening, heavy whilst retaining Ultio's established intricacy. It's an adequate track which doesn't really develop much after the promising opening salvo. Vocals are worthy of note though, vicious yet accessible, redolent of early Death. “Order” has another technical opening riff leading into a choppy verse and then a quality hook in the chorus. This one's a solid track and builds satisfyingly to crescendo. “Straight Jacket” is better still; starts with a direct onslaught, more restrained chorus, before an absolutely stunning bridge section is unleashed – brutal and discordant – and the highlight of the EP so far. “Five Years Fighting” concludes matters with a minimalist start before all hell breaks loose. This track contains the most intricate work on the CD, complex drum patterns underpinning the overall technicality, and contains another awesome bridge. All in all a fine way to end.

If death metal's your thing, or more specifically the works of Death, Meshuggah, or the technical death bands like Cynic for instance, then this could well be for you. Old school aggression meets more modern technicality with a tendency towards poly rhythms. The guitar tone is unusual and takes a while to get used to, but otherwise musically this is superb. Vocals are rasped, almost in a loud, aggressive, spoken manner, and fit well with the musical pyrotechnics. They're a great live band too, so check them out if you see them playing a gig by you. This EP gets better as it goes along and shows clear development from their earlier two track sampler – although that was good in its own right. One to keep an eye on I'd say – if they can produce a full length album with the same consistency of song writing they could well have a winner on their hands.


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