Ulveblod – Omnia Mors Aequat Review

I wanted this. I know I did. The phrase is “ask and you shall receive,” right? When I was in elementary school, I ordered an “ishy squishy” ball through a Scholastic book order, and proceeded to obsess over it for days: I dreamed about the ishy squishy ball; I watched videos about the ishy squishy ball; I could not stop talking about the ishy squishy ball. And when the ishy squishy ball came in, it was pretty damn cool, but it wasn’t that cool. I had hyped it up so much that I was incredibly disappointed at the real thing. When I got older and more metal- than ishy squishy ball-inclined, I wanted a black metal/noise hybrid. I figured it was the trvest style out there: the ultimate form of pitch-black atmosphere that could conjure abstractness and bleakness to new heights. While there have been plenty of artists that have tried, like Enbilulugugal, Gnaw Their Tongues, and Abruptum, success has been limited, so I wished upon a star for noisy black metal. In retrospect, I should have wished for it to be, y’know, good.

Ulveblod is a Dutch black metal project of sole member Vitriol, risen from the ashes of black metal project Nihill after the death of co-founder Michiel Eikenaar (also of Dodecahedron fame). Omnia Mors Aequat is Ulveblod’s debut full-length, full of trve black metal shenanigans, so expect scorching tremolo riffs, chaotic blastbeats, and blackened shrieks, as well as some “avant-garde” experimentation. Haphazardly strew upon a raw-ish black metal template, we find waves of noise effects, conjuring Merzbow and Throbbing Gristle to a frankly migraine-inducing degree. If you’re into trve masochism, grab yourself a copy of this shit, but otherwise stay as far as you fucking can from it.

Right off the bat, as “Seven Heads and Ten Horns” kicks off its trve blackened assault, what’s more noteworthy is that droning screech atop it. It’s truly deafening and overwhelmingly harsh, utilizing power electronics, ambiance, dissonance, and as many inaccessible electronic effects as possible to saturate the sound. Seriously, Ulveblod sounds like Akitsa being shoved down the garbage disposal. As a result, it’s difficult to gauge what is good about Omnia Mors Aequat, as its best is closing twenty-one-minute behemoth “The Dying Wound of God” because of its closing act. While the track often hearkens “Procession of the Dead Clowns” from Blut aus Nord’s magnum opus The Work Which Transforms God, its final six minutes channel dark ambient hits like Sleep Research Facility’s Nostromo or Blood Box’s The Iron Dream to a lovely degree.

While Ulveblod’s strength lies in penultimate reprieve, the first four tracks are a trve clusterfvck of poor songwriting and bad priorities, feeling like a splitting headache rather than a black metal album. Aside from the noise, tracks “Seven Heads and Ten Horns” and “Puryfied by Fyre” are numbskulled aural splatters of mindless tremolo, chaotic drumming, and random off-key plucking that has no business trying to keep a track afloat. Meanwhile, “In the Shadow of Sephirah Keter” and “Chaosophy” attempt to create hypnotic repetition, only to fall tragically into blaring monotony. While “The Dying Wound of God” could be seen as a Goldilocks of sorts, previous tracks are either too chaotic or too monotone, so it sounds listenable only by comparison. To add insult to injury to trve trainwreck, the production (other than the noise) is low-grade: vocals are too up front in the mix, guitars lose their sound into the noise, the drum tone is too inconsistently brassy, and the uninteresting bass alone provides a bottom end for the noise.

I wanted this, I know I did. While noisy black metal like Nyss or Sutekh Hexen can work because of tasteful uses of its elements and solid songwriting, Ulveblod is gleefully content blowing your eardrums and boring you to tears with an exercise in excess. Its priorities are completely off, and its chaotic effect-laden ear-rape just attempts to compensate for pathetic songwriting and limp performances with shocking noise. If your favorite Blut aus Nord song is “Procession of the Dead Clowns” but you think they should have stuffed it with senseless noise, meaningless dissonance, and no sense of musicianship, you might like “The Dying Wound of God.” Yes, like the ishy squishy ball, I wanted this, but the ishy squishy ball was at least cool. This is just poor life choices, masqueraded by trvly intense aural pain. In the immortal words of TheKenWord, “so trve they accidentally aren’t.”

Rating: 0.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Consouling Sounds
Website: Youtube
Released Worldwide: April 17th, 2020

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