Funeral Doom Friday: ULKUM's First Prophecy Predicts A Future of Brilliant Black Doom
Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
For Ulkum, funeral doom is not an expression of simple sadness, but one of passionate grief. A grief directed at the ways of humanity. Through towering, funereal structures and intermittent segments of black metal, the foursome constructs an ear-catching demo named First Prophecy. The group's first proper demo was initially recorded live for the Minneapolis radio channel, KFAI's show, 'The Root of All Evil'. "The music of Ulkum is a lament on a very personal level but also a lament encompassing all of mankind; future, past and present." The band said in a brief statement to Metal Injection. "Humanity is the source of evil and corruption. We are a voice lamenting the nature of mankind."
The menacing opening number, "I. Clothed in the Ashes of Fallen Brethren", sets this tone early and thoroughly. Joshua Ans' deep growl erupts from a sequence of somber notes as the opening dirge stretches well beyond 14 minutes—the last four of which morph into furious black metal. This section of "I.." presents an interesting facet to Ulkum's demo. The band shifts wonderfully between glacial doom and blistering riffs. "II. Breathe Darkness, Swallow Light" is perhaps the best example of this (as well as First Prophecy's brightest moment).
Their demo closes on "III. Children of Ulkum", which follows a similar suit as the prior two tracks on the record. Each of these three tracks presents a wonderful fusion of two often very different genres. Consequently, First Prophecy sets a bright stage for Ulkum. There certainly is a lot of excitement for what is to come from the band. First Prophecy can be purchased now on Ulkum's Bandcamp page. Also be sure to follow the band on Facebook.