The opening moments on their second album, Ultra, see metalcore crew Vatican go straight for the throat with a ripping mix of classic metalcore and dabs of electronics. A brutal kickstart to the release, the follow-up to their 2019 debut Sole Impulse, sees no let-up as the Savannah band tears into the chaotic “I Am Above,” an onslaught of abrasive vocals, chuggy guitars and layered electronics. Quite frankly, if the metalcore outfit keeps at this pace, there won’t be many of us left standing by the end, and it looks that way until “Reverence” when clean vocals and pianos start to infiltrate their way into the sound.
After that brutal start then, Ultra sees Vatican incorporating more melodic aspects into the material. That’s not to say that the band lose that brutal edge, far from it, with the piano-soaked “Where Heavens Collide,” seeing vocalist Mike Sugars also lurching through some guttural almost death metal howls alongside the pristine, soaring cleans which drench this incredible song. Showcasing the beauty of this record in those few minutes, Vatican follows it up with “[ULTRAGOLD]” with a more route one metalcore snarler with the frontman spitting the words “spineless motherfucker” over a barrage of chaotic metalcore.
Breaking up the relentless pace with “don’t speak,” an electronic interlude, “Decemata” begins the second half of the album with a brutal, 100-second onslaught while “Uncreated Waste” and “Damage” are spat out with an almost unrepentant fury from the Savannah quintet. Following that spine-splitting onslaught, the band veers somewhat strangely back into that cleaner, pristine sound for “By Your Love,” with the track sticking out like a sore thumb between the face-pummelling fury of “Damage” before it and the spite-filled “Miracle of the Moon” which follows.
For the best part, though, Ultra is a brutal display of chaotic metalcore. On this evidence, when they are at their heaviest, Vatican is simply unstoppable. The layers of electronics woven into the sound add a dark layer to the mix but the polished, cleaner styles employed on tracks like “By Your Love” take some of the devastating effects off the unrelenting, spiteful rage this band unleashed throughout the majority of this absolutely crushing display.
Ultra Track Listing:
1. Slipstream Annihilation
2. I Am Above
4. Where Heavens Collide
6. don’t speak
8. Uncreated Waste
10. By Your Love
11. Miracle Of The Moon
12. Mirror Dream
13. N.U.M.B. (Neutralize Under Maternal Bond)
14. Did You Ever Notice I Was Gone
Run Time: 33:46
Release Date: June 17, 2022
Record Label: UNFD Records