** Undead are so mysterious they aren't even mentioned on the cover of Decibel's July 2015 issue. Yet, they do, in fact, appear in said issue under the noms de guerre Necros and King Oscuro. See, nobody knows much about Undead. Even the label's publicist put up his respective hands as to the band's origins. Well, if anything is known about Undead it's that they like Death. A lot. Pre-progged out Death. The group's new album, False Prophecies, recalls 1988 perfectly. But it's more than that. There's aspects of Possessed, Master, and Obituary. Our blood bleeds old-school death (and Death). Yours should after Undead gets its fangs into you.
Why the mystery? Hasn’t Ghost done enough for mysterious bands lately?
Necros: The reason is mainly about music. We have to ask you a question: Is it necessary to know everything about the artist to appreciate the music? When you discover music on the radio for the first time, you have a feeling of mystery, and we want this feeling to stay as long as it is possible for the music of Undead. It is a privileged feeling for our listeners. But our decision is different from the one from Ghost. I personally think that their image doesn’t correspond to their music. I’m not sure that with a traditional style as jeans and suckers they would have had the same success. We do not follow this kind of goal.
OK, give us a hint. A six degress-type hint. Members of Mercyless and Morgoth, maybe?
Necros: Those are really good bands that we like. But you basically have five chances in six billion to know the line-up of Undead. Or, maybe even more with all the souls floating around us…
Musically speaking, how did False Prophecies come together? Maybe after repeated listens to Leprosy and Spiritual Healing?
Necros: Even if we have evolved a lot since, death metal owes its existence to Death. The three first albums represented the foundations of our style and no other group followed our writing style, maybe by respect to the monuments of metal. But after reflection we found it very interesting to work on Chuck Schuldiner’s writing after a while. We haven’t tried to copy him. It would have been without any interest. With False Prophecies, we wanted a rebirth to the ambiance of those albums. It is true that it is kind of between Leprosy and Spiritual Healing’s styles. We choose to pay tribute to Chuck for his fantastic work. It corresponds perfectly to the sequel of the album.
King Oscuro: It’s clear for us now, after having listened to that music, analyzed, and having played that music for years, that it’s about a kind of spiritual approach, which feeds our empty souls.
At what point did you think, “Yeah, this is going to work. We got ourselves something meaty and good?”
Necros: We never actually asked ourselves that question. We knew where we were going with this kind of composition. Each of us were more about the interpretation. Is it the right way to make this riff sound, this beat or this growl? Those quick decisions helped us to keep the energy, which is the very important for False Prophecies.
Is there a song you’re particularly proud of? The over-the-phone playback intro to “Castrate Humanity” is kind of cute.
Necros: Each title of False Prophecies has it little something which makes you listen to the album with pleasure. “Unborn” is epic and not heavy, with a very important growling part for Death. “False Prophecies” has dynamic mid-tempo and high ambiance. “Voice Within” is thin, very heavy and melodic. “Praise the Absurd” is certainly the most evolved song of the album. A very heavy title. I like the structure of this song. “Castrate Humanity” and “Descending Souls” are the same type of songs, direct but always with welcoming breaks. “Unbound to Eternity” is kind of direct as well. “Emerging from the Death” is very energetic, but some parts are very important to Undead! One of my favorite titles, by the way.
Were you careful to not be a direct copycat to the elder gods? I mean, the songs “sound” like old-school death metal, but they aren’t totally derivative of it.
Necros: Our goal is to give life back to those kind of ambiances we could find in several albums that started death metal. I think about Morgoth, Pestilence, Bolt Thrower… As I was saying, copying what has already be made is worthless. We were very much interested in the feeling you have by listening to our album. How the different parts sounded together. It’s a very rich style that gives you different feelings that comes along with this style. After that, each of us had our own influences, but we also knew how to share and make a good team work.
What’s your favorite death metal album of all time? And, why, of course.
Necros: This is a hard question because a lot of them exist. I would say Death's Leprosy.
King Oscuro: Celtic Frost’s To Mega Therion, which isn’t really death metal. But, however, a masterpiece of dark poetry and it definitively led death metal to something new.
Where did you record False Prophecies? It has a nice big sound without sounding too old or too robotic.
Necros: We recorded at Replika Studio with Lars Bragten. We took our time to produce the album. Our goal is to drawn in the energy of a recording studio. We succeeded in reproducing this in the album. It sounds acoustic. A lot of CDs sound fake nowadays. It’s a race for decibels. We didn’t want this kind of sound. We wanted to reconnect with this acoustic tradition. Feel some pleasure with the instruments without hiding behind an over-production.
Will Undead ever reveal themselves?
Necros: Only time will tell you…
King Oscuro: We are the funeral marching among your spirits… Anything else remains insignificant.
** Undead's new album, False Prophecies, is out now on Listenable Records. True death metallers can find CD and vinyl available HERE. Choke on all the variants!