Rage and FrustrationExtreme Music Reviews & Interviews
Undergang – Misantropologi (Review and Interview)
Band – Undergang
Album – Misantropologi
Country of Origin – Denmark
Genre – Death Metal
Release Date – June 23rd, 2017
Label – Dark Descent Records
Author – Hayduke X
Shakespeare gave us the line: “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.” in Hamlet, one of his darkest plays. On Misantropologi, Danish trio Undergang confirm for us that this is literally true. In ten tracks coming in at less than thirty minutes, these deviants provide the ultimate soundtrack to malevolent corruption. Feral creation is called forth to drag the listener bodily into the filthy pits of void from which the band springs forth.
Anders Pedersen handles percussion duties where his hammering provides a pied piper march into glorious darkness. Whether blasting, syncopation, or groove generating rhythms, each stroke is laid down with the foul smack of a rotten tree branch falling into a festering swamp. Up next, we have Sam Osborne on bass and backing vocals. Both hit like a thick wave of nausea forcing your head into the murk, as you stumble and collapse in rhythm. The final member of the trio is David Mikkelsen who handles guitar and the main vocal duties. The guitar tones he chooses are like putrid, undead scavenging rodents, crawling forth to devour the rot of human society. His vocal style is less of a death growl than a journey into the thick, wet sludge of a prehistoric swamp.
Undergang explore the underside of humanity. They call forth slow, rotting death to devour. They issue from the foulest parts of the void, eager to consume.
Recommendation: If you like your death metal dark and filthy, this is for you.
Hayduke X: Congratulations on the recent release of Misantropologi. The album is killer. What kind of a reception are they getting?
DM: Thanks for the good words, glad to read that you like the new album. I haven’t heard much about the new album yet, but based on what people coming out to the shows on our tour have said it’s generally being received positively. I also think “Misantropologi” is the best album we’ve recorded and the best songs we’ve composed, so on a personal level I’m rather proud of the whole thing. The new songs are fun to play live too; we’re playing four of them in our set currently.
HX: How is the tour going? Have there been any particularly memorable shows? Thanks for including
DM: The tour is going great, we’re having a fun time being around our touring NECROT and it’s a pleasure getting to see them shake the room every night. I’m replying to this interview on my laptop sitting on the backseat of our van going from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Richmond, Virginia, for tonight’s show. We’re 12 days in the tour and still have another 2, 5 weeks to go. The shows have overall been good all around but the stand out ones must the first show in San Francisco, LA and Atlanta off the top of my head.
And sure thing, we’re looking forward to returning to Michigan. Drop by and say hi at our merch table and have a drink and a chat with us! [Wish I could have, but I couldn’t make it to Detroit that night – HX]
HX: Describe a live Undergang show.
DM: Well, nothing magical or any tricks there, we’re just playing the best we can, thrashing hard and giving all we have each night and enjoying ourselves with the crowd we get offered. We usually play a few songs off each album so there should be a bit for everyone in attendance, even if you only really liked that first album we put out 7,5 years ago. Lots of brutally, sweat, spit and low-end to go around for all, so grab a drink and get up in front and rage with us!
HX: Do you have a favorite track or even a favorite to play live?
DM: I guess I base it on how fun the songs are to play and currently I really enjoy playing songs off the new album, especially “Efter obduktionen” and “Klynget op I en galge af egne indvolde”. Bu
HX: Let’s go back to the history of the band? How did you start?
DM: I’d been writing death metal riffs and arranging them into songs for a few years but was struggling finding the right people to play with. I managed to gather a group of friends interested in giving it a go in 2008 and we had our first rehearsals in the beginning of June that year. The bassist and vocalist never showed up and avoided phone calls for the first rehearsals so we moved a bit around and adjusted things to be a 3 piece instead and have stuck to that formula since. We wrote a bunch of songs that eventually would end up as “Indhentet Af Døden” over the summer and played our first show in Copenhagen in September 2008, a basement show I organized myself supporting the now defunct Canadian punk/metal band LIMB FROM LIMB. We played some more local shows and recorded a demo versions of “Evigt lidende” for online presentation and to be put on some mixtapes to friends in late September that year. It also got featured on some compilations and such. We then scheduled to record our debut album with our friend Morten who we did the demo recording with also and recorded that album during heavy intoxication over the winter of 2008-09. Finally got a final mixed and mastered product by the summer of 2009 and made promo tapes to find a label but ended up being contacted by Me Saco Un Ojo Records, who at that time was only starting out and “Indhentet Af Døden” became the second release on MSUO and was release in January 2010. We’ve remained friends with Jesus of MSUO since then and after a two album record deal with Xtreem Music was over in 2013 we decided to return to working with MSUO and Dark Descent Records who had been trying to get us on the label since he and MSUO did a flexi 7” release for us in 2011. DDR and MSUO have then released both of our past 2 albums and were happy to be DDR/MSUO recording artist to this day still, always been very supportive towards us and given us a lot of freedom for everything. Our bassist through the bands first eight years decided to part ways with the band in the spring of 2016 as he’s wishes for life couldn’t keep being mixed with our busy touring schedule, so he played a few festival shows and a last European tour with us and then retired. We then had our friend Sam who we knew from BONE SICKNESS and TREPANATION fill in on bass for a show case festival for DDR and Invictus Productions in Dublin, Ireland, in late April 2016 and he was offered the position full time which he agreed to and then went on a month long US tour with us in July 2016 and recorded bass on “Misantroplogi”as his first release with the band. We’re still the same trio now and keep spreading our death metal disease as far and wide as we can.
I guess that’s a brief look into our story.
HX: What is the band’s songwriting process?
DM: Most riffs and song structures have been some that I’ve worked on at home and then brought down to the rehearsal room to arrange them together with our drummer Anders. I have an acoustic guitar at home that I write almost all of my music on. Other times we have ideas we discuss at the rehearsal room and try out or I’ve had some riffs in my head all day at work and then try them out together at rehearsal later in the day and those songs then get’s assembled collectively. Back in January this year we wrote two songs all together as a three piece for the first time, those two songs were recorded the same month down in Phlegm Studio, the studio of DEIQUISITOR, and will eventually be released as a split 7” with DEAD and a 4-way with DEIQUISITOR, TAPHOS and my other band PHRENELITH.
HX: What gear are you using to create your sound?
DM: I can only speak on behalf of myself here, but I play on a variety of Jackson, Gibson and B.C. Rich guitars over the years, back to Jackson now these days. At home I play on a Peavey Valveking 100 amplifier
HX: What is the album about thematically?
DM: It pretty much touches the same themes as we’ve always dealt with, all sorts of death related topics and death metal should be about if you ask me. Songs about torture, mutilations, murder, dark perversions, stages of decomposition and that sort of gruesome realities.
HX: Tell me about the album cover. Who is the artist and how involved were you guys in that?
DM: I did the cover art as I’ve a lot of all the other cover artwork and shirt designs over the years for the band too. I like it when someone within a band is responsible for the bands visual graphics like that myself so I think it’s cool to be able to do so within UNDERGANG also.
The cover for “Misantropologi” I worked with water colors for the first time as we wanted a full color cover artwork this time around. Anders and I had been talking about doing a gory adaption of the “Vitruvian Man” for the album cover during the 2 years of creating all of it, so I gave that a shot and I think the presentation fits the theme and overall feeling of the album well.
HX: How have you evolved as a band since 2009?
DM: In a rather naturally flowing way I’d say. We’ve slowly evolved as musicians over the years and all gotten more comfortable with our instruments to a level where writing and playing comes more natural these years compared to the beginning where one would often be influenced more directly by certain other musicians. We’ve also cut down on the rather ridiculous alcohol and weed consumption we used to have during the first years of the band, which has been necessary to maintain our touring schedule and being able to function better while on the road and such, haha. Not much has changed since then besides that, we’re still a pack of immature imbeciles who loves brutal, raw death metal and our influences are still the same. Luckily, in my opinion, it has lead to the band being at its very best from and presentation ever these days.
HX: What is the Danish metal scene like these days?
DM: Things are OK these days. We have some cool death metal bands like DEIQUISITOR, TAPHOS, WÜRM’S TONGUE around and thanks to Killtown Bookings there’s a lot of shows and tours coming through Copenhagen these years too, which is cool. The scene is still small however and not too many people come out and support underground death metal, but you will see a lot of people showing up when, say, MORBID ANGEL comes through town. I do think the lack of attendance also has something to do with there being several metal shows a week suddenly, which was unheard of just a handful of years ago when most tours would skip Denmark. In Denmark right know there seems to be a lot of focus on some newer forest themed “black metal” bands but I’m not interested in that at all, so I don’t really know what’s going on besides our little circle of friends and the music we create and shows we set up as that’s where my attention is at.
HX: I know this one just came out, but do you have new music in the works? How is it sounding?
DM: We wrote and recorded two new songs as our new line-up back in January and they’re a bit more rough sounding with a good deal of blast beats, catchy gory riffs and more of the gross dual vocal sewage going on as presented on “Misantropologi” also. Anders and I wrote a new song for our upcoming split with GOREPHILIA before the tour also which is a bit more knuckle dragging in a way, I guess. We’re in no hurry but we’re always brewing on new songs, I think the upcoming year will see a few smaller releases from our side and possibly a compilation of all of those songs in a near future too.
HX: What else should we know about Undergang?
DM: Let’s just say that “Misantropologi” is the best album we’ve done and if you like heavy, brutal and nauseating death metal you should give it a listen and pick it up from us, Dark Descent Records, Me Saco Un Ojo Records or their distributors worldwide. Look out for us coming by a town near you and drop by and check it out, I think live we offer an alternative brutal version of our songs worth experiencing.
Stay tuned, we have plenty of more horrors to show all of you!
If you want to get in touch, buy merch, etc. hit us up through undergangktdm@gmail.
D.M. / UNDERGANG