Black Metal, Hardcore, Metal, Post-Hardcore, Punk

Ultrablut – Teneriffa (Review)

Bands: Ultrablut
Release: Teneriffa
Genre: Punk, Post-Punk, Black Metal
Country: Germany (Wuppertal)
Release Date:15th of February, 2024
Released viaSanta Diabla
Cover Artwork:C. Lansky

It is 6.30 in the morning, I’m sitting in the bus in order to get to work while I’m reading the overtly extensive Hammerhead interview that was contained in the last issue of Ox Fanzine. While doing so, Ultrablut vocalist Lansky functions as voice that shouts at all those people coming from in and outside of my family grinding my gears with stupid-ass racist bullshit. Life is great.

When first having read the name Ultrablut after having read about the latest release at Santa Diabla, I was not yet aware of this combo and was also unsure what to expect from this music. Although that pink on white cover caught my eyes right away, it took a little longer for me to listen into their debut EP (which is quite usual, cause I’m always late finding out about good bands – this has almost become narrative within my reviews…). Ultrablut is a four-member outfit heading from the infamous valley at the Wupper that contributes with great cultural output (just check Lower Rhine Underground) and also serves with the well-known AZ Gathe. My first encounter with the band’s music was actually as described above, and this lead to immediate bonus points because things were coming together just as needed. Ultrablut play a style that can best be described as… yes – you guessed it – difficult. Going by the fact that members from Grim van Doom and Morast build the basis of this band, you can most certainly guess for at least some amount of Sludge to take place. That’s right. The rest of possible space on this debut EP is filled with a vigorous mixture of genres that might not pop up in your head while preparing your early morning genre smoothie.

Maybe it’s easier to get to know about this fact when diving a little deeper into this EP. Actually – for the attentive listener, it only needs the first few seconds of the opening track “Abwärtskopf” to find out about this blending of the seemingly unblendable.  When this track kicks off, we hear hard guitar strokes underlined by drum hits and a highly familiar “ÜÄGH” sound that will drive you right into the spheres of 1st Wave Black Metal. Yes – you might be right about that. However, just a few seconds later, we progress towards a riff that might have come right off IdlesBrutalism topped with vocals that oscillate between narration and Black Metal screams. To be honest, you had me at this spot already. This band that dubs their music “Canarian Black Metal” (man, this is hilarious) has their audience enter “Teneriffa” with an energetic outburst that literally radiates the fact that those musicians were overtly interested in intertwining whatever the fuck they are interested in. Cherry-picking your favorite traits from diverging genres and puzzling together a style that makes up a trademark that will stamp immediate recognition value on your music. That is just nasty. Adressing “the man that can do everything” – we all know them – I actually get quite strong “Never Fight A Man With A Perm” vibes from the content of this track.

A focal aspect that is especially striking from the first track on and throughout the entire EP is the vocal delivery on this output. Usually, when drifting back and forth between screams and storytelling, you still get the regular “comfort zone” vocals that have their two or three spots at which the vocalist feels most confident at. I’m good with that, a lot of variety can derive from this alteration already. However, on Ultrablut’s debut, it rather feels as if the vocal range encompasses every tonal possibility in between mere talking and Black Metal shouting. I often tend to talk about the fact that some people have “music in their voice” – which means that they almost sound as if they were singing while just talking. This predominantly happens when I hear Soul musicians and even selected Rappers talking. I have to admit that I was not yet aware of the fact that this can also be the case when talking about Black Metal vocals. However, Lansky is capable to have his audience listen while moving from all talks to pure screams on this EP, and throughout its entire runtime, a large share of possibilities in between is brought up as well.

On their second track “Sog”, Ultrablut underline their wild mixture of genres when opening a track that moves a little further towards the Sludgy shores some of the musicians are a little more familiar with. On this track, the oscillation between storytelling and shouting / screaming is present again, though, and it all eventually culminates in a sequence that probably comes the closest to what purist Black Metal played by Ultrablut might sound like. The drums whirl up with crashing blast beats while the guitars give you a slight hint that the term “Canarian Black Metal” might be derived from Cascadian Black Metal, since the riffing certainly brings across that very cathartic US Black Metal tone. The versatility this band brings across does evidently not only stem from the vocal alteration, the guitars are able to move within different spheres easily as well. This is then followed by the right-in-the-mud full Sludge riffing “Schwebebahn Blues” that rumbles off here and there with some grinding as well, paying homage to maybe one of the most notable elements of Ultrablut’s hometown Wuppertal.

As opened in the beginning already, the fourth track “Glaskinn” brings across a lot of meaning that might pick up many listeners since it addresses the problems people have with indoctrinated right-winger bullshit that finds eternal iteration at your everyday family birthday party or wherever you can imagine. Although following the foosteps of “Glaskinn,” the broader and slightly more playful chords on this track tend to bring across a vibe that reminds of La Dispute during their Rooms of the House era. Ultrablut’s outbursts on this track lean a little further towards the US Black Metal spheres, though, which conjures up a slightly different bigger picture. I had to smile so damn hard when I first listened into this track, it addressed a damn lot of people I know and have to deal with. On the final track “Hub-Welt,” the classy Post-Hardcore influences of the band are eventually underlined once again – especially with Lansky’s sing-shout in between vocal style and the drum rhythm that will get you to move. Of course, other genre outbursts are thrown into this track as well, just be surprised yourself.

This EP was released on beautiful pink cassette tapes by yours truly Santa Diabla, who continue putting out amazing underground releases one after another. The first edition of this tape was sold-out immediately, there is still a pre-order running for a second  batch of tapes that will be available soon. Better check out early and not cry later!

When we started off with Transcended Music Blog, I was not yet aware of the fact that it will eventually turn out to be a journey to actually find out what definite aspects about musical output I favor. Of course, this rather moves somewhere on a meta level, but if there is one aspect I found out about it is the favor of strong mixtures of different genres. This is exactly where Ultrablut hit the spot of music that I like. I only grasped the surface of what genre allusions can be found on this short EP and it will probably be quite interesting to see how this band enacts on a full-length level.

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