ULCERATE – Vermis
ULCERATE drummer Jamie Saint Merat has written a track by track article on their latest release entitled "Vermis", now out on Relapse Records.
This is the first album where we’ve decided to write a specific opening track that serves more of an introduction or mood-setter. The goal here was to create something distant and foreboding sounding, with maybe a little industrial edge to it. Production-wise I wanted there to be a very mechanised sound to the piece, even though it’s completely acoustic. Drums were tracked with a single room-mic to get an eerie, distant tone. I think it sets up the rest of the album really well.
This wasn’t originally going to be the album opener (i.e. first track after the intro of Odium) but it packs such a punch and is utterly unrelenting for the first 3 or 4 minutes that it ended up working really well. Deceptively melodic and cathartic, this in my mind is the first insinuation that this album is definitely not The Destroyers of All pt II.
Another very frenetic song with a lot of really warped rhythmic ideas. From the get-go the plan was to create a very vile, nasty atmosphere with this track. Arranging this was a nightmare to get everything flowing well, but it actually sounds very smooth at this point despite a plethora of odd meter and instrument interplay. It’s the first time I think we’ve ever done a guitar ring-out on an album leading into a final riff – this was just totally off the cuff during a jam and we really like the sound of it, so it stayed.
Weight of Emptiness
We set out here to create a down-tempo (for us at least) doom-ish track. We ended up adding some tempo variance for the anchoring riff in its different incarnations but asides from that this song has a super thick, murky atmosphere that actually has turned into my favourite track on the album. First song for us ever to utilise a lowest string tuned to A, which gives a very different feel for me from the rest our material. Outro section came out perfectly. I actually read somewhere someone describe it as ‘a
ghastly piece of work’ which totally suits haha.
Second song we wrote in the lower tuning, with this track we wanted to go for the throat 100% of the time. There’s a lot of nice symmetry to the arrangements here with a lot of to-and-fro between riffs and variations of themes. The outro is one of my favourite mid-pace parts we’ve ever written, and it felt right to just hammer it into people’s skulls for 8 times with very little variation, not something we often do.
Fall to Opprobrium
First time we’ve done an interlude piece – just wanted something that divides the album in half and gives a sense of relief. It’s written as a distinct precursor to The Imperious Weak that follows it, and it gets its title from a line in that song. Also of note is that it shares its overall theme with the clean section in Await Recission, which is a nice little footnote for ourselves even if none else notices!
The Imperious Weak
This track was born out of the intro section, we wanted the whole thing to be menacing and fucked sounding. The last section came out of a rehearsal session, I just switched the feel of the drums on the 3rd to last riff and that allowed us to bring back the theme riff of the track in a slower tempo – from here on out the song really changes shape and brings some relief, which serves as a really great outro. First song we’ve ever written that uses the same riff in 2 distinctly different tempos, which works really well for some reason.
The first track we wrote coming out of The Destroyers of All. A lot going on in this song, and for months I thought it was a possibly a bit too much from a drumming standpoint (i.e. it’s really difficult to nail). But by the time we’d recorded it it now feels like one of the best songs to play live and has some really nice rhythmic interplay and melodic counterpoint.
This track was specifically written as the album closer and to be as punishing as possible. I’ve grown to really love this song and I think live it’s going to really crush. There’s a combination of a lot of great melody and just a horrific violent and unsettling character that’s the best possible note to end an album on.