We recently reviewed the 2015 EP from Undead entitled Blood Enemy. This underground metal release combines the best of late 1980s speed metal with the architectural song transitions of Swedish death metal. Fortunately, the band were on hand to answer our questions about their music, approach and the art of death metal.
When did Undead form, and what inspired you to take on old school death metal as a style?
The idea of creating a band with the concept of Undead was in my mind for years, and V. Repulse (vocals/guitar) and I were talking about playing something old school practically since we’ve met, but it became “alive” in 2013.
Are you planning a followup release to “Blood Enemy”? When approximately do you think that will appear?
We’ve been recording this summer, so there will be an EP with four new songs coming out this October
What are your influences, and how do they appear in your work?
I guess every music I like has an influence in what I compose in a way or another. It’s all a big mixture of 70’s bands (Black Sabbath is for me, the source of wisdom) the speed from the thrash metal bands I love since I was a teen, and the putrefaction from the Swedish death metal bands, which I think they may be our biggest influence, and even the darkness from black metal or doom metal.
Why did you choose not to compose in contemporary death metal styles like deathcore, tek-deth, or blackgaze?
I’m very picky with the music, and those modern genres…It’s not how I conceive this music. I couldn’t play those styles of death metal because I don’t think they have the…let’s call it “soul”…With all the respect to those bands and their listeners, but, for example, all this non-sense technicity bores me to death…I can see the point, but after a minute is like I’ve already listened everything… I find other styles more rewarding to play, something more violent and powerful.
Where did you record this EP, and what techniques did you use?
Blood Enemy was recorded between our awesome drummer’s studio (Your Sound Recording studio) where he recorded the drums and the mastering took place, and bass, guitars and voice were recorded in our home studio, which is basically an iMac with Pro Tools and a couple of gadgets, a 5150 and a few mics, with few resources and nothing fancy.
Why did you choose to record an EP as your debut, instead of a full-length? Was there a demo before it?
No, we never released a demo, but I think this EP works like one. These were the first two songs we ever made, and we though they were a good representation of Undead, and a good first punch. I think it would be pointless to release a full-length right now, since we’re a new band and nobody knows a shit about us. Our priority right now it’s to get to the audience, and I think that’s easier, and I won’t lie, also less expensive, if we focus on promotion with EP’s. Eventually the full-lenght will come.
Your songs seem to use a very 1980s speed/death approach, except in their transitional and culminating moments, which remind me more of early Entombed and Unleashed. How do these two styles complement each other?
I think both styles work great together, the speed and violence with the more epic-doom old school parts. That’s basically a mixture of what I like the most, and when we started, it all came out very naturally.
What, in your mind, makes a death metal band great as opposed to good?
I wish I had the formula, but I can’t tell you exactly what it is. I’m led by emotions when I listen to music, so I could say I measure the greatness of a band with the effect it makes on me. If I press the play button and suddenly want to get up and break a chair or flip a table, then I’ve found a great band… the rest are just good haha
How do you compose songs? Do you start with an idea, an image, a story or just a riff? How do you make the song evolve, and how do you know when it is done?
It usually starts with a riff, or a melody. V. and I sit together with our guitars, and record all the ideas, then we define the story or what we want to say with every song, so the rest comes out spontaneously, sometimes is a fast and easy process, and sometimes is a pain in the ass…but when the song starts to get shape, the pieces fall into place.
For readers who want to stay abreast of what you are doing, where do they go for information and news about the band?
Our official Undead website and our Facebook page.
Tags: death metal, Speed Metal, Undead
51 thoughts on “Interview with Undead”
I think I’m going to get the EP even though I have no way of playing it. I can’t wait to hear a full-length effort from these guys.
You can get record players for very cheap now (~$50). They are extremely compact and have audio out ports so you can plug speakers in, as well as USB ports so you can plug it into your PC and rip audio straight from the vinyl.
Those sound like shit. There’s no point to buying them unless you’re a hipster.
A hipster… or poor.
What is a good alternative? Particularly for someone who is extremely conservative when it comes to desk space usage.
Stick to lossless FLAC files and CDs.
I’ve never seen a convincing argument for vinyl over CD that doesn’t involve sentimentality, but I’d love to hear one. I used to think I was missing out, I’m still not entirely sure, but I think it was merely a psychic projection of pretentiousness emanating from nearby hipsters.
The main argument is many records never had good CD/Digital versions and never will due to tape decay, damage, and loss. Against that is most have CD versions as good or better than the LP but many notable ones didn’t until very recently or never will. Both the loud and quiet CDs of Under the Sign of the Black Mark have major tape problems in one channel, the digital versions of 80s Earache stuff had random eq choices and clipping until the Full Dynamic Range reissues, and all the Beatles CDs until the recent box sets were horrifically bad if you played them in anything better than an old car or boombox. Of course if the tapes are gone and you can’t afford a good turntable, cartridge, and phono-preamp then CD releases professionally made from pristine old vinyl copies tend to be way better than amateur needledrops by guys with great systems or the typical beat up old record you’d find in a store.
Lossless CD rips in FLAC directly outputted to a good external DAC (no ESS Sabre bullshit) will wipe the floor with the modern MDF, belt driven turntables or DJ Technics with the stock tonearms and carts. The investment for vinyl just really isn’t worth it for metal unless you have tons of cash to burn and want to play 7″s and 45s from the 80s.
Well sure FLAC is ideal but it’s not always available. Lots of old metal LPs were also never sold on CD.
Thanks for the explanation! So, all of these modern releases on cassette and vinyl are just misguided wish fulfillment to mimic the old bands which in turn only serves to further encourage hipsters.
I don’t any of these as I’m no longer in posession of a record player since 2010 so I can’t comment on these specific examples. I also probably wouldn’t buy new vinyl recordings because CDs take up a lot less space (important consideration if you have a few hundred of them) and they’re much more convenient to handle: CD players need less maintenance than record players, are less easy to break by accident (I’m good at that) and provide other features I consider useful.
That said, a CD gives you 44,100 discrete 16-bit sound samples per second and the difference is very clearly audible: Bass (not the instrument but the frequency spectrum) always sucks on CD. At the opposite side, sounds tends to be much more metallic/ distorted. One could perhaps describe this as ‘lack of body’ (I’ve read that somewhere and applying it here seems to make sense). Also, turning a 24-bit input (number between 0 and 16,777,216) into a 16-bit output (0 – 65535) implies reducing the sample range by about 99.6%.
Most people will argue that the sound information lost in the transfer to digital is negligible due to the frequencies being imperceptible to the human ear. I’m not totally convinced though. I also prefer to purchase CDs when they are available but I do like the sound of vinyl. The music sounds smoother coming from a record to me, and while that may be a placebo effect, it’s still tangible.
Analogue recording gives you a continuous signal. CD is a 44.1khz discrete emulation of that people are supposed to be unable to notice.
Thanks to both Rainer and C.M. for your additional opinions on vinyl compared to CD.
Thanks for this, I’m looking forward to a full-length.
Once again we see that musicians who produce quality music denounce the contemporary metal-shoegaze-punk-pop-jazz fusions and draw influence from the pure sources. It’s like there’s a pattern!
Ignore that. Get back to work.
This was a particularly pointless interview.
No information whatsoever was exchanged.
Influences, recording equipment, process of composition, artist’s perspective on how to judge quality music… not sure what else you can expect when you interview a guitarist.
Useless information, at the end of the day.
You might as well ask him what brand of cereal he eats in the morning before rehearsals.
Well, it’s not the same… but almost.
If you feel the need to know his equipment set up, then you haven’t much talent
or brain of your own.
Yeah, only bumbling morons are ever curious about anything. Must be cool to have such vast talent and brains as to never wonder about the process by which musicians achieve their sound and produce their music.
Information nearly as useless as comments attacking the information for its lack of usefulness.
Maybe he disagrees with everything this site stands for, thinks Nietzsche was a nerdy loser in love with his sister, and regrets Varg didn’t get arse raped by a black gang in prison ; but kept it vague out of respect for the nice review.
Nobody asked him to agree with Nietzsche.
There is a ton more he could have shared and made this a conversation.
Instead, he seems incredibly reticent here.
Why the fuck do the interview as if he were talking to Metalsucks.
And why the fuck does DMU publish this sort of garbage?
Ah, yes.. DMU is trying to be “normal” to attract more beer metalers and Homer Simpsons.
Let’s put it that way. If Satan was to exist in human form, he wouldn’t take the appearance of a corpse painted dude who screams to 10 frustrated teenagers on the stage of a smelly local bar. Instead, he would look like a wealthy handsome guy in designer clothes who hangs out in fancy clubs with two uber-hot chicks under each arm, 100 bucks a bottle cocktails and cocaine in each hands. Pretty much the antithesis of the corpse painted guy and everything heavy metal at large stands for.
Like all social media, MetalSucks and Blabbermouth are just time-wasters unworthy of any contempt. Very honestly, I generally really like DMU’s music reviews and don’t find them populist. I very much agree with the quality over quantity approach. However, the philosophy stuff just screams desperation to intellectualise a music genre that is anything but. Metal was, is, will always be derivative pop music with neoclassical inclinations that amount to nothing more than pretentions, which is exactly why it is so much looked down upon. Metal fans are either nerds or simpletons. What they all share is a myopic, black and white worldview – which is excusable when you’re young, but ridiculous after a point. I feel like many people should take a long hard look at themselves, then decide whether they want to embrace their own mediocrity or move on, instead of living in denial.
“Metal fans are either nerds or simpletons. What they all share is a myopic, black and white worldview – which is excusable when you’re young, but ridiculous after a point.”
That seems like a sweeping generalization. What world view might that be?
This is cliched code language for “hold opinions they actually consider to be true”, especially on topics someone really doesn’t care about because he considers them below him (but would still prefer is his opinions, eg, Metallica is a Great Band because they’re Mightily Successful[*], weren’t openly criticized). I know this from discussions about software with non-programmers or would-be-programmers.
[*] With ‘success’ being considered the only sensible goal in life and that being defined as “having truckloads of money to waste on drugs and whores” — interesting definition, by the way :->.
Success is a subjective notion alright. Hence in my view, Metallica’s material success is a reflection of their personal success – overcoming the teenage angst and insecurities so many of their peers and fans are still stuck with, while producing some good art along the way.
And for the record yes they did fuck more groupies by 1989 than we ever will in a lifetime, which is always a bonus.
I’d give them more credit for intelligence: Even the Metallica debut is already pandering to an audience and they’ve systematically worked themselves into mainstream rock band and transformed the face of that in the process. That’s quite of an accomplishment and I wish them all the best on their path (in a totally apersonal way) but an artist’s accomplishment and an artistic accomplishment are two different things: In the course of this, they have produced a lot of uninteresting ‘more of the same’ music and some outright atrocities (»Whiskey in the Jar«).
Shall we now have a “maturity” discussion focussing on “Guns’n’Roses”-T-shirts, birthday cards slogans a la “70 and not the least bit grown up” and the inability and unwillingness to with connect emphatically to anything beyond food, drink, drunkenness and sexual intercourse? One of my pet theories is that most people die when they’re about sixteen and are then artificially kept alive for another sixty odd years with the help of increasinly sophisticated technical measures.
Here is an exmaple of what the “intellectual elite” you guys so much want to be part of, really think about black metal and their fans:
You’re welcome. Talk about reality check…
My impression is that most of the right-wing want nothing to do with us nihilists and headbangers. This is because metal is an artistic movement instead of a political one. As part of that, it endorses certain right wing ideas — aristocracy, eugenics, Nietzschean survivalism, nationalism, even recognition of differences between the races — but not political parties. Metal is Tolkien, Lovecraft and Nietzsche rolled up into one: we want a return to the age of kings, not politics, and definitely not pointy-headed people telling us what we must do in order to keep the Herd together.
Unfortunately, all political groups head toward the pointy-headed place; the Left and Right do it by seeking control through popularity, which requires dumbing down the message, and the Libertarians do it by encouraging a runaway tragedy of the commons. This is why artists and philosophers tend to look not so much to political identity, but goals, principles and methods. For example, it would be silly to argue that we should have socialism over capitalism; capitalism just works. At the same time, I have trouble with many of the right-wing activities that strike me as obsessively foolish, like their BDSM fetishism for hard work and going to church. If anything, I am anti-liberal because I do not trust human individualism, but it would be hard for me to get excited about The Stupid Party or genocidal tyrants either (unless they were genocidal sheerly for artistic reasons, then it’s very metal).
That explains a lot, actually. Thanks for sharing. However, I find the article itself far more interesting than the comment section which rapidly degenerates into insults from people who have obviously never even attempted to engage with the material. In fact, nothing in that comments section communicates to me that those involved were necessarily of the “intellectual elite” that you speak of. With that said, I don’t see how anyone who takes their Black Metal too seriously by examining it within a philosophical context or the like, is supposed to feel humbled by the fact that a half-dozen anonymous posters in a New Right comment section don’t find it populist enough to be considered a proper revival of völkisch ideology.
I had hoped the link would elucidate his point, but instead we have a few jackoffs ranting about metal’s incompatibility with their way of thought while apparently only giving it a cursory glance. THEEEEEEEEEENKS
Poo flinging and pseudo-tribal spam, on the internet?
…you don’t say ;)
“However, the philosophy stuff just screams desperation to intellectualise a music genre that is anything but. Metal was, is, will always be derivative pop music with neoclassical inclinations that amount to nothing more than pretentions, which is exactly why it is so much looked down upon.”
Metal is an expression of humanity’s mythological nature.
It can be popular to some extent, like folk tales can be popular, but metal is far from the most popular music genre.
Metal has more in common with Gilgamesh than 50 shades of grey,
and with Njal’s Saga than with Twilight.
For modern works, it has similarities to The Lord of the Rings, which was heavily inspired by mythology anyway,
and with books like Shadow over Innsmouth, which although not explicitly mythological, depict humanity as a part of a greater universe, much like mythologies with their powerful beings and gods.
Pointing this out is making an accurate observation, not a pseudo intellectual fabrication.
It is true that not all metal succeeds at reaching mythological heights, but although it is structurally coloured by what it emerged from (rock music and pop), it is overwhelmingly obvious that there is within it the spark of mythical imagination, as it grasps at things greater than any one self.
Pop is about the individual’s mundane concerns: social status, relationships, money, and nostalgia.
Metal is about the fate of empires, heroic struggles, facing terrifying horrors, and humanity’s place in a greater universe.
If you can’t see this from listening to the music itself, reading its lyrics, and noting the extra-musical behavior, statements, and values of its composers, then I don’t know what to tell you. You must be blind.
Don’t forget though that there are many metal songs with highly personal themes, like stories recounted as if from an eyewitness perspective. The difference between heavy metal and pop is not in the degree of personableness, but in the weight of the subject matter that the songs are built around.
Pop: Pre-structured song, insert whatever themes seem interesting (sex, social status or lack thereof) since the dancey beats are acceptably paired with any variety of everyday topics with which the ego busies itself.
Metal: Heavy themes that demand exposition through a case-by-case method of structuring since the music must be molded to fit the subject matter.
It’s more about an attitude than the subject matter itself, yeah, that’s true.
Metal can be about a personal struggle, like being tormented by nightmares and hallucinations.
I wrote that text in one sitting, it’s not too thought out.
It is pop. As in the formatting. Yes, there are some examples of albums composed of 40-minute pieces, but these are rare. Yes, some metal bands (usually the good ones) evolve beyond the traditional song format, sometimes using a “intro-body-conclusion” narrative structure as opposed to the verse/chorus approach, but for the vast majority, it’s still the same format of 40 minute *albums* comprised of 3 to 6 minute *songs*.
Another major difference between metal and classical music is the lack of dynamics in sound and tempo. Dynamics in metal are e.g. a clean guitar intro followed by a distorded riff, or a double-kick drum starting at the 5th repetition of some “epic” riff. But the sound is compressed so everything has more or less the same volume.
Recording techniques in metal = all pop, today more than ever, with digital editing techniques (not to mention autotune). Recording to a click track = pop. Multiple takes put together in post production = pop. All of that’s a far fucking cry from classical instrumentalists recording live, all in one take, in a church to capture natural reverb.
Shall I say more?
You’re not trying hard enough
Saying that metal is like pop because the length of songs is comparable is like saying that an entertainment film is the same as a documentary, or that a fictional novel, a history book, and a technical manual are all the same.
They use the same technical means to accomplish different things. Focusing on the means and not the ends is asinine.
Metal doesn’t have dynamics. We know. It’s still good. I never said that metal was like classical music. No one is denying that it’s a different genre.
Furthermore, I never claimed that metal expresses the same things as the classical, baroque, or romantic periods. There is some overlap on occasion with the last, but even then, it’s related, not the exact same.
The classical (not neoclassical, as you put it) inclinations in the best metal are a result of the worldview of its composers, which was in most cases far more mythological than mundane (as vOddy put it above). You may be deaf as well as blind.
Post censored? Truth hurts, eh?
Why would a collection of your anything but original prejudices about other people hurt anyone?
Read this, my friend.
Who are these people? And why would I care for their ranting?
what do you want to hear fenrir? portentous bloviations on the metaphysical underpinnings of their music? do you think metal musicians actually care about that stuff?
HERE IS A LIST OF LOST AND FORGOTTEN DEATH METAL GEMS FROM THE EARLY 90s. THESE BANDS APPEAR SOMEWHERE ON THE ANUS WEBSITE.
THESE GEMS NEED TO BE UNEARTHED CUZ THEY’RE PURE GOLD !
Broken Hope – The Bowels Of Repugnance
Banished – Deliver Me Unto Pain
Agony – Apocalyptic Dawning
Sepsism – Severe Carnal Butchery
Misery – A Necessary Evil
Incubator – McGillroy The Housefly
Immortalis – Indicium De Mortuis
Necrosanct – Incarnate
Banished is maybe worth a listen but is way too chuggy for me, though YMMV. Baphomet – Dead Shall Inherit makes it obsolete.
Immortalis – Indicium De Mortuis fucking rules !!
As aveteran reviewer for Metal Archives , I approve of the above list.
That alone makes the list suspect…
Ah, yep. You ranked a Blut Aus Nord album higher than Show No Mercy. Clean out your ears… with hot lead.
Noktorn on Killswitch Engage…
“The release of this album is located at the exact moment in time when it dawned on all the metalcore bands in the world that they were actually way better at writing heavy-sounding pop songs than actual metal or hardcore, and thank god it happened, because all those pre-’04 metalcore releases that are nothing more than turgid post-thrash with breakdowns are some of the most obnoxious things on the fucking planet. ‘The End of Heartache’ was a pretty fantastic move for that scene, really. This isn’t to say that with this album all the kinks were worked out; definitely not. This album still has a ton of the stillborn aggro-rock that defined early releases by Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall, but you can see the clear movement towards a poppier, more accessible style that marks the exact moment where metalcore started to become more than merely tolerable.”
Top zozzle bruh.
HERE IS A LIST OF SONGS BY UNDERRATED MELODIC DEATH METAL GEMS. THESE BANDS NEED TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR ARTISTIC CONTRIBUTIONS TO HUMANITY.
Trivium – Dying In Your Arms https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbG_m835YnU
Asking Alexandria – The Final Episode https://youtu.be/z71_E_YqWqA?t=33s
Black Veil Brides – Knives and Pens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFDCHdKbKBY
Falling In Reverse – The Drug In Me Is You https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgWr2nln83s
The Undead EP initially sounds like yet another Swedeath clone but turns out it’s actually worth listening to.
Comments are closed.