A New Zealand progressive death metal band known for creating a distinctive body of work while remaining staunchly independent and self-reliant, Ulcerate emerged in the early 2000s with a sound that was influenced by dissonant extreme metal groups like Gorguts, Immolation, and Cryptopsy.
Almost from the beginning, the band's sound was fully formed: a maelstrom of abrasive, dissonant art-metal guitars, thunderous blastbeats, and vocal roars evoking an all-encompassing sense of crushing dread, which they went on to further refine on career highlights like Everything Is Fire (2009), Shrines of Paralysis (2016), and Stare into Death and Be Still (2020). Every album has been self-produced by drummer Jamie Saint Merat at Auckland's MCA studios, the music benefiting greatly from his deliberately raw production.
Formed in Auckland in 2000 by drummer Jamie Saint Merat and guitarist Michael Hoggard, Ulcerate went through a revolving door of additional players and vocalists before bassist/vocalist Paul Kelland became their permanent third member for the release of their second album. Initially influenced by Gorguts, Immolation, and Cryptopsy -- particularly in those bands' use of dissonance -- Ulcerate developed in the relative isolation of New Zealand's extreme metal scene, far from the mainstream. They initially recorded two well-received demos, which were compiled in 2006 by Deepsend Records under the title The Coming of Genocide. Their debut studio album proper, 2007's Of Fracture and Failure, was released by the Dutch label Neurotic Records, and featured the high-pitched, shrieking, hardcore-style vocals of Ben Read, who was with the group for only that one album before they recruited Kelland, who took them back to a deeper, more typically "death metal" sound.
Ulcerate gradually built their profile through word of mouth, low-key touring, and signing bigger and better record deals. Their "genre-defining" second album, 2009's Everything Is Fire, and its 2011 follow-up, The Destroyers of All, came out on highly respected U.S. label Willowtip, with 2013's Vermis and 2016's Shrines of Paralysis released by extreme metal giant Relapse. The band moved over to French extreme label Debemur Morti for their sixth full-length effort, 2020's visceral Stare into Death and Be Still. ~ John D. Buchanan & James Christopher Monger, Rovi