From the land of New Zealand comes one of the most acclaimed death metal bands of the 21st century. The band have pushed the boundaries of metal, with a style that mixes tech-death with various other genres and a focus more on creating atmosphere than showing off. A direction that has earned them a legion of fans who eagerly await their next move. Recently, they released their 5th full length, Shrines of Paralysis, an awesome album which is destined to be one of the top metal albums of 2016. I was recently able to speak with drummer, Jamie Merat, on topics including this awesome album and his country’s metal scene.
How is this current tour going? Any cool stories?
Tour is going great so far, we’re about half-way through and so far the majority of the shows have been ridiculously good. Great to finally play cities such as Vancouver, Dallas, Atlanta for the first time as well as return to the West Coast cities we hit last time around. Richmond tonight and then the East Coast run begins.
I noticed your newest album has little bit more black metal influence than others. What influenced you guys to add these elements?
It hasn’t been a conscious decision to add a black metal influence per say, we just decided very early on that we wanted to inject more melody into the sound, and juxtaposed against our own approach to death metal I can see how that might possibly be perceived as veering into black metal territory. In saying that, when it comes to metal these days, black metal makes up most of what I listen to, and we’ve always had an underlying sonic philosophy that is more in-line with contemporary black metal than death metal.
I see you guys get tagged with many labels such as Tech Death, Avant Garde death metal and post death metal? How would you personally describe Ulcerate’s sound?
Death metal will suffice. Bores me to tears having to keep hearing and considering these goofy labels.
How do you feel about the metal scene in New Zealand? Any bands you want to shout out?
I think all of us feel disconnected from the scene at large in NZ. A lot of our favourite / friends’ bands have disbanded or are in a state of stasis (ie Witchrist, Diocletian, Sinistrous Diabolous, Shallow Grave) and I personally haven’t struck anything new that really gets me excited or stepping outside of my comport zone as a listener. But still active and deadly are Vassafor, Heresiarch, Vesicant.
With bands like you guys Nucleus, Blood Incantation, Portal, Horrendous and countless others pushing the boundaries of death metal how do you feel about the future of the genre?
I think it’s definitely a lot healthier than it has been on a long long time. In terms of a future? Hard to predict, I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon, all extreme styles of metal are starting to be appreciated by wider audiences these days, and while there’s a definitive hipster contingent, I think that those of us that are in it purely out of passion will always keep things moving steadily forward.
How do you feel about 2016 so far?
To be honest we’ve all been so fatigued from the album work and now straight into touring that this year has passed us by far too quickly. Mostly I feel like I need a break! In terms of other music releases, a few things have piqued my interest but I just haven’t really been able to dig deep. New Dead Congregation rules, and new Medico Peste looks promising, as does Emptiness’s new album.