Friday, March 2, 2012

Undergang - Til Døden Os Skiller

Undergang are a Danish death metal group who formed in 2008. This album, released about a month ago, was their second full-length effort. This was my first exposure to the band.

I found this record to be really enjoyable. Undergang's sound is derived largely from the Obituary school of death metal, with heavy, mid-paced grooves rather than manically fast and energetic guitar work. In order for this to work, the riffs have to be compelling, and in this case they are. The churning guitar drives the music forward, effectively balancing appealingly catchy grooves with really meaty heaviness. The bass is also surprisingly prominent in the mix, adding a welcome depth and fullness to the overall sound. The drumming is perfectly solid, though it's not really the focus of the music and it doesn't stand out as anything extraordinary. Their are some breakdowns present, but these sections manage to avoid the more problematic deathcore style breakdowns one often encounters. In other places the tempo is just slower in general, with the band adopting a heavy death/doom sound.

While the musicianship is good, it's the vocal work that really brings this whole album together. The deep, guttural vocal style completes the overall heaviness of the record. Additionally, the vocalist sometimes mixes in a full-on retching noise that sounds like a demon vomiting up its guts. These serve as gruesome punctuations to his monstrous croaking and bellowing, and greatly enhance the overall effect of his performance.

My lone gripe about this record is the overuse of movie sound bytes. Many death metal bands have thrown a few well placed horror film clips into their albums, but there is no reason why a band needs to begin every song with one. Once the music actually kicks in these are no longer of any concern, but their inclusion feels very unnecessary and is slightly distracting. Overall, though, that is a minor complaint about a very good record.

Grade: A- This is excellent chunky, mid-paced death metal that is both catchy and heavy.

1 comment:

  1. Nice. I loved their debut, so it's good to see they managed to keep it up. However, I don't think the debut had any samples, or if it did, it wasn't on every song. I hope that doesn't ruin this one for me.