UNDERGANG

Danish dynamite is not only found in liquid form. UNDERGANG proves that the Danish death metal scene is not dead and buried. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Being a Swede from Skåne I have no problem understanding Danish but I?m in the minority of folks outside of Denmark understanding Danish. Why have you chosen to use Danish as the chosen language?
– The decision to keep all the lyrics in Danish was made after we chose a Danish word for the name of our band. From that choice it seemed only natural to keep everything in a our native tongue. Besides that, in all honesty, when we started out the band we never had any idea that as many people would give us the recognition as we have now gained. We just set out to play what we consider real Death Metal and never expected more than some appreciation from the people around us here in Copenhagen. But fun to hear from someone who actually understand our lyrics outside of Denmark, we don’t get a lot of attention from other Scandinavian people in general actually.

I get an old school Bolt Thrower/Carcass feel when I see the artwork and hear the music. What is it that influences you?
– Sounds sick man, not too bad of a start, haha. CARCASS is definitely a band that has inspired us in several ways when it comes to writing music for UNDERGANG. Besides that I’d name bands like AUTOPSY, WINTER, PUNGENT STENCH, CREMATORY (sweden!), IMPETIGO, MORTICIAN and tons of other disgusting older bands. As for atmosphere we also get influenced by tons of horror movies and personally some music of GOBLIN as well. Artwork wise I’m a big fan of 70’s and 80’s horror comics and as I’m responsible for almost all of the artwork used for UNDERGANG it has taken its place in our visuals.

Danish metal has always been of the highest quality but for most of the time lived a life far away from the limelight of the international metal scene. What is your opinion on why we see so few Danish bands really making it like fx the Swedish ones have done?
– Well, maybe because most of the Danish bands since MERCYFUL FATE has sucked! I’m definitely not a fan of Danish metal in general as there’s always something “Danish” sounding to them. Something I really don’t like. A lot of the bands tend to over polish everything during studio sessions and live they’re just basic goofballs. I might be over saturating a slight bit, but this is just my 5 cents. We do however have some cool newer bands like CEREKLOTH, PUSTULATION, STRYCHNOS, MOLD, BONE, CHURCH BIZARRE, DEUS OTIOSUS etc.

What is the current diagnosis of the Danish metal scene? Any really good bands that might make it all the way?
– It depends on how you look at it, I guess. I mentioned some bands above that I think delivers deadly metal these days, but if you talk about making it big, I really don’t know. Probably some boring shit like DAWN OF DEMISE (Dawn of the mice, hehe), even though they suck. At least down here, the Danish bands that gets the attention of most of the crowd are gay, modern-sounding, plastic, core shit. We besides the more “mainstream” sounding bands we do have another sub-scene where we try to present the more honest, or “real”, metal band around. I’m a part of the group organizing the annual Kill-Town Death Fest, a DIY underground death metal festival held in Copenhagen’s North West quarter. We offer some of the sickest death metal bands around these days to the public, with the strongest focus on the Scandinavian death metal scene. in 2012 we arrange the 3rd edition of this celebration of the current underground death metal scene, the bands and all the people involved. Check out our website www.killtowndeathfest.dk for more info!

I remember from the 80s/90s that there was a pretty strong DIY-ethics in the Danish youth culture. What is the status of that whole scene today? Is the DIY-ethic still as strong today?
– Oh yeah, I definitely think so. Gain, it depends on where you look, but I think that in the underground movement of the scene there’s definitely more of a DIY feel to it than on the surface. F.ex. the Kill-Town Death Fest I just mentioned is completely DIY and run by volunteers. We have around 100 volunteers working their asses of a day, when we do the festival. Also in general when it comes to shows there absolutely still the DIY ethics behind a lot of them. But again, depends on where you look.

How much of a difference is there between Copenhagen and places like Helsingör or Odense or Roskilde in terms of public responses and places to play and the local scenes in general?
– Copenhagen is the place to be when it comes to getting chances to play more shows in Denmark, I’d say. We have a lot of clubs and venues that take in most bands looking for shows. I grew up in a small town a little more than 10 km away from Helsingør, called Espergærde, and up there we pretty much only had one place where we went to shows. It still exist too, but it’s not really a place lots of bands visit or probably even know of. I honestly don’t know much about Odense, but I see that they currently have some upcoming Brutal Death Metal shows there. Not really anything for me, so I don’t pay that much attention to it. In Jylland there’s several places for shows, mainly in the bigger cities as Aarhus, Fredericia, Aalborg and such. The scene is slightly different though and some of the people how different opinions of things than people here on “Djævle-Øen”. I guess there’ still kind of a “fight” between the two places, with people from Copenhagen thinking that the others are nothing but a bunch of hicks and the people from Jylland thinking that all people Copenhagen are “pseudo”-swedes and what not. No offense man, you probably know the drill and have some of the same things going on in Sweden. UNDERGANG haven’t played many places inside Denmark. Tons of times in Copenhagen and then we’ve visited Roskilde, Aalborg, Fredericia and Svendborg.

How are you going to take Undergang out of Denmark and unto the international meal scene?
– By touring of course! We’ve already done a West Coast tour in the US with 17 dates and we just returned from a 16 date European tour with FUNEBRARUM. We’ve played varied places in Europe already and are working on some shows around New York with our friends in FUNEBRARUM and DISMA right now, besides another US tour, this time on the East Coast. Besides that our music gets published by Xtreem Music (Spain), Me Saco Un Ojo records (U.K.), Dark Descent records (U.S.) and we’ve been featured on a compilation released by Baphometal records (Argentina). So the language barrier isn’t such a big deal as you might think!

With a couple of albums to your name this is starting to get serious. How do you maximize the output in order to take it as far as possible?
– We just do whatever we feel like, actually. Luckily we know quite a few people from net-working for years and we get a lot of support from our labels when it comes to promotion to. We don’t have any wish to be the next METALLICA, we just do things in order of what feels right for us and then do it. We get a good amount of offers to release our music, we have labels run by people we know and like as persons as well and the same goes when it comes to getting shows or getting help with having a tour booked. We’re a very lucky band indeed dude!

When you are a small band how important is playing live? Can you make a name for yourself just by touring?
– I think it’s very important to play a good amount of shows a year, especially as a rather young band! Of course you shouldn’t play ALL the fucking time in your hometown (though we did it for starters, which I think have only been a good thing), but enough for people to know who you are and what your all about. Besides that, playing live give you way more experience as a musician than just playing in your rehearsal place. Touring is also a good way to get your name out there even further, but I think the best recognition you’ll get is by net-working and with the help a good label can provide you with.

Do you see a future for Undergang and what will it hold?
– More records, more touring, more boozing, smoking more weed and totally kicking ass! We’re just going to continue what we’ve already created and enjoy every single bit of it. You never know if you might get run over by a car tomorrow, do all you can do when you have the possibility to do so or weep later! Thanks for the interest in our band for the interview. Hopefully we’ll play somewhere nearby in Sweden some day!

ABSOLACE “Fractals”

ABSOLACE
“Fractals”
(-)
I got a soft spot for Soundgarden and Temple Of The Dogs. So sue me for thinking that Absolace are simply brilliant. That they come from a place that isn’t the most open just makes this so much of an experience. The United Arab Emirate might not be the most common place to find hard music coming from but Absolace prove that with great determination you can survive even in the most hostile environments. Musically this could be described as a light version of Tool or perhaps a continuation of A Perfect Circle. It is in that region this album moves. It paints with broad strokes. Gently sweeping through the subtle to the chaotic in one move. Making this a journey that takes you up high as well as down deep. Never losing sight of the end result. Never letting you down as a listener. Anders Ekdahl

AIRSPEED “Airspeed”

AIRSPEED
“Airspeed”
(Jolly Roger Records)
Just the band name Airspeed alone signals that this could be a ride to remember. This is heavy metal in the classic tradition. High wailing vocals, melodies aplenty and guitar solos. What more can you want? OK, so the production could have been a bit warmer but the rather rudimentary sound actually adds to the charm of this. This is a new band to me and I don’t know too much about them even though they seem awfully familiar to me but that doesn’t stop me from liking this album. Like I said, there is a charm to this that makes it hard not to like it. It’s almost an innocent approach, like if the band had started in the early 80s and just learnt how things work. Well worth checking out never the less if you like traditional heavy metal with a very 80s feel. Anders Ekdahl

ALTAR OF SIN “Tales Of Carnage First Class”

ALTAR OF SIN
“Tales Of Carnage First Class”
(Xtreem Music)
Spain might not be the first place you think of if you like extreme metal but once you dig a bit deeper you’ll find a treasure that isn’t that hidden. Xtreem Music has for some time brought the world a bucketful of bands that in various degrees bring forth Spain as a metal country to count on. Altar Of Sin are thrash metal on the extreme end of the scale. This is thrash metal the way Kreator or Destruction were thrash metal in the 80s (no other comparisons done). This is full on blasting metal that takes no prisoners. It just leaves victims; decimated, decapitated and left for dead victims. This is carnage put to music. And it is pretty darn good too, if you like your thrash to beat you to a pulp. This is “work-out for the neck” music. Anders Ekdahl

FISTHAMMER “Devour All You See”

FISTHAMMER
“Devour All You See”
(Horror Pain Death Gore )
Fisthammer better live up to their name if this isn’t going to end up one massive disappointment. With a name like that you kinda expect a left hand knock from the word go. No pussyfooting about here, no sir. And after a rather useless intro we are on our way down that slippery road that is death/thrash metal. Not the face punch I had wished for but still packing a good enough punch that will hurt, this turned out a nice surprise. Maybe a bit more technical than I had wished/hoped for but once I got my head round to it I started to appreciate it for what it is. All in all a good thrash/death metal album that has much to give if you give it a chance. Anders Ekdahl

INMORIA “A Farewell To Nothing – The Diary part 1”

INMORIA
“A Farewell To Nothing – The Diary part 1”
(Metalbox/Ice Warrior/Rock It Up)
OK, so your brother is one of the more prolific persons in the Swedish media, known for drug use and fronting a questionable (musically) band. That doesn’t mean shit to me. All I care for is if the music you do is any good. Sweden’s Inmoria might be new to me but that only adds to the joy of hearing them the first time around. This could best be described as power metal with a twist. The twist being a progressive touch: Progressive power metal anyone? It’s not as bad as it might sound. I come to think of Evergrey and bands in that vein when listening to this album. Add a Queensryche (no musical comparisons though) concept kind of feeling and you get an idea where this is all heading. I like the harder edge that Inmoria have going in the music. It stops it from going all gooey on me. It also sets them apart a bit in a much too overcrowded sub-genre. This is a keeper. Anders Ekdahl

OSMIUM “The Misery Harvest”

OSMIUM
“The Misery Harvest”
(-)
I’m a huge fan of Soundgarden and Black Sabbath. That the latter influenced the former there is no doubt about. So when a band comes along that bridge the gap between these two bands I can but not to love it. Osmium form New Zealand blew my socks off from the very first note I heard. This wasn’t like anything I had heard in very long time. With the heaviness of Black Sabbath (and any other band influenced by the GODS) and the melodic sensibility of Soundgarden this turned out to be a very fine amalgamation of heaviness and melodies. You might hear something completely different in the music but that is the charm of this album. Whether you like the heavy doomy end of the spectre or the more melodic side of things doomy you’ll find it here. If you fancy your music light-hearted and cheerful you’re in the wrong place. For the rest of us this could very well be the closest to doom heaven we’ll get this year. Anders Ekdahl

PIGEON TOE “The First Perception”

PIGEON TOE
“The First Perception”
(LifeForce Records)
I’m no worse than I can appreciate a fine prog metal album. It just takes me a bit longer to get into it than with a full on blast of trad metal. German Pigeon Toe are new to me and even though they are seasoned musicians in their own right that doesn’t mean too much to me. What I like about prog metal is the use of contrasts. Where they go from the soft to the hard, from the simple to the complex. Pigeon Toe are no exception. The transitions floes effortlessly and you only have to sit back and enjoy the ride. This is no roller coaster ride. More like a pleasant trip down a country lane as dusk is about to settle. Modern reference points could be Opeth without the death metal bits’n’pieces. This gives me the same sort of joy listening to. Anders Ekdahl

SECRETPATH “The Wanderer”

SECRETPATH
“The Wanderer”
(band)
I liked Italian Secretpath’s previous demo. I found their clash of death and black to be quite enjoyable. With a new demo in my hand the expectations are higher this time. Will they be able to match or even surpass the previous one? Italian black metal is not my strong side. I haven’t heard too many bands of that ilk coming from the Italian metal scene. Those that have come my way have so far been worth my time. What I found strange was that I came to think of early Necrodeath when I heard this new demo the first time round. There is something to this band that I really like, especially their early stuff. Secretpath brought out that same feeling. For that they get plus points. This five tracker turned out to be everything I had hoped for and some more. This is (still) pretty cool death/black metal. Anders Ekdahl

SOLO SHOOTS FIRST “This Is The Famous”

SOLO SHOOTS FIRST
“This Is The Famous”
(band)
Half the fun of doing this is to discover new acts, bands that you’d never hear of otherwise. To constantly be surprised by all the talent there is out there in metalville. Solo Shoots First are new to me and with that a blank slate. This is to my ears hardcore the way hardcore sounded in the late 90s/early 00s. I shouldn’t say thankfully but this is as far away from the modern metalcore as you can get. And while this might appeal to some of the more adventurous metalcore fans this should first and foremost appeal to those of us that miss out on good hardcore acts with a metallic edge. Solo Shoots First might at first have looked like another trend sucker but turned out a “well worth spending time on” band. Anders Ekdahl