Destruction For Miles
Ladies and gentlmen: Jamie Saint Merat, drummer for New Zealand's Ulcerate
by: Johnathan A. Carbon
New Zealand's Ulcerate finally gets the time to stretch after the release of their newest record, _The Destroyers of All_. During this brief intermission, Johnathan Carbon sits down with drummer Jamie Saint Merat to discuss the album, future plans and his favorite classical albums.

CoC: What is the metal scene like in New Zealand? Does the insular nature promote camaraderie among the individual bands?

Jamie Saint Merat: I'm only going to speak for the extreme end of things here, as I really can't stand the metal genre outside of that! New Zealand is very insular as you said, and it really gets divided into two sections: there's a small amount of surprisingly good metal that comes out of here, contrasted against very derivative stuff that really just draws on the tried-and-true formula from US / Euro bands. But yeah, there's certainly a level of camaraderie, particularly as the more successful bands have always shared members at one point or another. Worthy of mention: Witchrist, Vassafor, Diocletian, Creeping, Scaphist.

CoC: Is it ridiculous to think about playing in Australia or Tasmania on any consistent basis?

JSM: No, not at all, but we don't really have any interest in over-playing anywhere, so not more than once a year -- and each time making sure we're doing something completely different set-wise.

CoC: How has the reception been for this album as well as the previous two? Is New Zealand welcoming for unchained brutality?

JSM: So far, each release we do, we seem to get a little more recognition and people seem a little more excited and interested with things. This is however the first time we've had the comparisons start to come into play, with regard to _Everything Is Fire_ at least -- there's obviously people who liked certain things about that record and wished we'd expanded on them, but the overall consensus we get from personal and critical feedback is that our path of progression is really appreciated. New Zealand has always treated us a little at an arm's distance for whatever reason -- there's certainly a reluctance in a general sense for metal that is not stock-standard meat-and-potatoes shit, and we're definitely not the only ones who feel this. So because of that, we keep a low profile, go about our business and try to not over-saturate things in terms of a live presence. I heard the other day that we're doing such a good job of it that a few people actually think we've moved overseas. <laughs> In saying that, NZ really only has three cities that a band of our ilk can play successfully, and we always have great reactions when we do.

CoC: This new album has a slower pace than 2009's _Everything Is Fire_. Was the writing and recording of _The Destroyers of All_ any different than two years ago?

JSM: This time around it was a lot more focused, we basically shut-down and wrote the album almost entirely from top to bottom, every single day for around six months. Writing for us is coming a lot easier these days in terms of compositional ideas; seems we've found our feet, so-to-speak. The pace thing wasn't necessarily intentional, we just wrote parts that we thought were exciting and interesting to us, and the tempo works itself out. With a lot of the parts (and the album as a whole) we were really going for a larger, more open sound, and a lot of the time that means not filling riffs with a ton of notes, just letting things breathe a little easier.

CoC: Was there any one technical death metal album which influenced you or the rest of your band?

JSM: Early on it was Gorguts and Immolation predominately that introduced us to this style of playing, particularly their use of dissonance, and in terms of thinking outside of the square in a death metal context. The first three Cryptopsy albums were pretty crucial from a composition stand-point, as we really gravitated to that more linear approach of song-writing that they were utilizing.

CoC: If you could play with any band, who would it be? You can also choose the year of said show. Thus if you wanted to play with 1987 Slayer -- I could make it happen.

JSM: For me, personally, Immolation and Angelcorpse on the same bill would be the one!

CoC: I would like you recommend me an album. Preferably a pop record or a classical album.

JSM: I don't really listen to pop, to be honest... Sigur Ros _( )_ is fucking great though, or Clutch _Blast Tyrant_ -- again, close enough genre-wise. As for classical, _Shostakovich: The String Quartets_ by the Emerson String Quartet.

CoC: What is next for the band? Are there any Australian or Indonesian tours planned?

JSM: We have a small headlining run through Australia early March, and we're in talks in terms of hopefully getting back to Europe this year, and the USA if we can manage as well. We're keen as fuck though.

CoC:I know it is early, but are there any hints or directions for the follow-up?

JSM: Not yet, still trying to gain some objectivity on the last one. <laughs>

(article submitted 26/2/2011)


ALBUMS
2/25/2011 J Carbon 8 Ulcerate - Destroyers of All
5/21/2009 J Smit 9 Ulcerate - Everything Is Fire
10/14/2003 Q Kalis 6 Ulcerate - Ulcerate
DEMOS
2/29/2004 Q Kalis 3.5 Ulcerate - The Coming of Genocide
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