Review: Ultio – Fera (Brucia, Mar 17)

The inaugural release from Genoa-based label Brucia Records arrives in the form of the recorded debut from enigmatic solo project Ultio. Information on the artist is scarce (the only revelatory detail provided on the Metal Archives is that its lyrical themes are “evil”), but the music speaks for itself. Fera is twenty minutes of seething fire and fury buried beneath a pile of suffocating earth that threatens to give way at any second, the propulsive blast beats and frenzied tremolo riffs constantly pushing to escape their tomb. While the music is veiled in a canopy of fuzz and blur, an aesthetic choice that effectively complements both the atmosphere and subject matter that Ultio explores, the mixing leaves no desire for further clarity, and even the most subtle of elements are allowed due definition. At an average length of five minutes, each of the four tracks are consistently concise, mining from a focused but fruitful palette of inhuman shrieks, frantic dissonance, brief fragments of melody, and cathartic moments of masterful tension release. The EP’s short length couldn’t be more misleading; there’s more here to explore than in countless other more bloated black metal releases I’ve heard, whether it’s picking out the buried screams in the harrowing coda of “Beyond the Fog” or reveling in the glorious climax that concludes “The Right Weapon.”

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