This is DOOM like I haven’t heard in a LONG time… at least not executed this well and genuine sounding. Rather than the DOOM that has become popular as of late, this is very much derived from the Death Metal influenced DOOM perfected by 90’s pioneers My Dying Bride, Anathema, and Paradise Lost. There are moments that I swear I am listening to Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium, Cathedral’s In Memorium, or Anathema’s Crestfallen. Check it out for yourself, and I promise you’ll be transported back to a magical time where everything was recorded analog and tracked live...
- Thomas, Redefining Darkness Records
"First Prophecy opens with the nearly fifteen minute track, “Clothed In The Ashes Of Fallen Brethren” that rises ominously out of intro silence on a single strummed guitar, backed with swirling, ghostly ambience, lasting about three minutes. Then the ghoulish vocals from Joshua James Ans drag up from the tomb, growling and snarling like some kind of upstaged demon. Eventually the track explodes into frenzied black metal, vocals desperation increasing, instrumentation rising to the brink of death, a tempo that bleeds over into “Breathe Darkness, Swallow Light” the shortest but stiffest of the initial three. Finally, all the sounds of First Prophecy converge into “Children of Ulkum” the finale filled with over eleven minutes of dominating riffs, blown out into a massive, crushing sound, over which an invigorating, almost soulful guitar solo carries out what is, in the end, a merciful obliteration."
- New Noise Magazine
"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."
- Cody Davis, METAL INJECTION ( Oct 2017 )
"How many funeral doom bands can you think of that make their primary business live performances? Certainly a few, but the majority seem to be studio acts. That is because this particular subgenre is so much about atmosphere that it is rare to really be able to strike that mood in a bar, or with restless attendees, even ones who are into it.
In the case of Minneapolis four-piece Ulkum, its trial by fire has been largely on the performance circuit. Its debut album, "First Prophecy" from October, was a live performance on community radio station KFAI. Before that debut, Ulkum released a demo, "Demonstration," in January of this year. Now back with its eponymous full length, which features its three tracks from the demo and three fresh editions of songs from the live album, fans finally get a sense of what the group can truly do.
Ulkum is composed of some of the region's experienced musicians, including bassist Jesse Geirr Conaway of the black metal band Drona; drummer Jonathon Andrew Roll, formerly of black/death metal outfit Autumnal Winds and black metal group Feral Light; lead guitarist Aaron Lott of progressive metal crew Chaos Frame and melodic death metal act Pestifere; and vocalist Joshua Ans of death metal performers Fallen Empire. Given its lineage, Ulkum's form of doom has had prominent black metal and death metal influences, as well as a lo-fi aesthetic that audiences caught on that original demo. Should you love that description, this album will be the red meat you're waiting for.
If you caught the group's initial release, the first three cuts will be your reminder of Ulkum's sound. Those cuts, titled "I" to "III," are tighter versions of the "Demonstration" sessions that are still raw, decidedly on the low-end and muddy. It may have been challenging to figure out if that was purposeful, or just a casualty of austere recording, but there are plenty of dark glimmers to nevertheless appreciate. In particular, "II" has an intelligent build up on the way to a pulsing tone that creates the sort of dread that the best doom can conjure. If you are familiar with the previous songs, these renditions are particularly strong, and perhaps even better, than the originals.
The second half of "Ulkum" covers the cuts from "First Prophecy." The tracks released from that October performance gave listeners glimpses of growth from the band. There is perceptibly more mature compositions between a song like "I" and "Clothed in the Ashes of Fallen Brethren." On this album, the versions of "First Prophecy" songs feel almost identical, beyond a few touches. This is a positive thing. In fact, if you owned or streamed "Demonstration," this is a good chance to own the most quality versions of those cuts, plus the even better versions of tracks from "First Prophecy."
- Ernesto Aguilar, SLUDGELORD ( Nov 2017 )
Recorded Live on KFAI for The Root of All Evil 9/24/17
Joshua James Ans
Aaron Patrick Lott
Jonathon Andrew Roll
Jesse Geirr Conaway
Patrick Broderick-Van Oss