Thursday, January 5, 2017

Undrask Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Undrask was born from a desire to capture the "epic" feeling that spurred all of us into the world of metal in the first place. We're probably best described as melodic death metal, though we didn't really set out to fit any particular genre. We just write what we want to hear, and we want to hear melodies and brutal vocals!

2.How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recordings?

Melodies and riffs abound, with a heavy vocal delivery. Lots of guitar harmonies and variations. The focus is always on the track as a whole, so you'll hear varying degrees of intensity in each instrument throughout the album. We also love bass melodies, so try to listen on a system with a good low end if you can!

3.The lyrics on the new recording are a concept album, can you tell us a little bit more about the storyline?

Definitely! You can think of the album like a television series - there are individual stories, and an overarching story. The main storyline finds our protagonist in an odd situation, not necessarily good or bad. On the second track, Conscripted, he discovers that whenever he dies, he is instantly reborn into a new reality, always immediately in some sort of conflict or battle. In this track, he comes to accept and even embrace this fact. After an unknown length of time - years, centuries, millennia? - this changes, and he begins to unravel (Final Right covers this bit of the story). Unable to cope with eternal life, especially one so volatile, he begins to fall apart. The title track and album outro, Battle Through Time, holds the conclusion (and explanation) of the story.  We won't spoil this one - you can find the lyrics on bandcamp, or on the physical digipak, and draw your own conclusions!

The remaining tracks each tell the story of an individual reality that our protagonist passes through.  There's a wide range of settings, as each track tells its own sub-story. Primal Revelation was inspired by Lord Humungus and his gang from Mad Max 2, for example, while Champion of the Dawn tells the story of a vampire hunt gone wrong.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Undrask'?

Steve and Erik were actually working for a Norwegian company at the time, and thought Norway was awesome (still do). They got drunk, dug through some Old Norse words, and picked a few that sounded cool, then narrowed it down to one. "Undrask" means something along the lines of "to stand in awe of," which we thought was fitting for the direction we wanted to head with our lyrical content. While it's actually pronounced closer to something like "Oon-droosg," we're ignorant Americans and just say it the way it's written, though we encourage you to say it however you damn well please.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Wow, where to start - the NC/SC scene is full of amazing bands and venues, so it's hard to rank them.  Ground Zero in Spartanburg, SC is our most frequented venue, and we've enjoyed our shows there immensely.  The people are always welcoming and friendly, and the energy is high.  We just played a New Year's Eve show at the Somewhere Else Tavern in Greensboro, and it was fantastic as well. We've actually been there more times as spectators than performers.  The atmosphere is great, it's a small venue but full of the best guys and gals you'll ever meet.

On stage, we just enjoy ourselves! We try to keep the music rolling, taking minimal breaks and keeping the energy high. We take the music seriously, but ourselves not so much, so you'll probably hear us cracking jokes or saying dumb things when we do take them.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

Currently, we're planning a few shows for the coming months in the NC area. We're working out plans for something of an East Coast mini-tour in the future, though it's still not solidified. We've all got full-time jobs, so that's obviously a challenge, but we plan to play as many shows as possible. We're certainly open to the possibility of touring, either in America or Europe, but we're still quite new to the scene and working out the details.

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

We're open to discussion with labels, but again we're still very new so our primary concern is getting our name out. We were encouraged to shop Battle Through Time around before releasing, but Darryl and Erik will be on 70,000 Tons of Metal next month (early February), so we wanted the album available by then. It's a great opportunity to put our music in the hands of dedicated metal fans!  December/January isn't really a great time for labels to pick up new, unknown acts, so we made the decision to just go ahead and put it out ourselves. We'll be handing out copies to the fine folks aboard 70,000 Tons, so if you happen to be there, seek us out and get your hands on one for free!

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of melodic death metal?

So far, it's been better than we could have imagined.  This is our first effort, and to hear so many great things is super encouraging! We've heard from fans in Europe, South America, India, Canada...all over, really. It's an amazing feeling to make that connection with people thousands of miles away.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We've learned a ton from Battle Through Time, and certainly hope to improve all aspects of our musicianship and writing by the time the next album rolls around. We've already started on Album #2, which will be another concept album, albeit in a slightly different direction. We're always tossing ideas around, whether music or story related, so nothing is set in stone yet but we're well on the way!

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

As a whole, we just try to write what we think is cool and don't aim for any particular style or genre, but we all have our roots! We'll take this one individually:

Erik - If I had to pinpoint one band, Kalmah brought me crashing into the realm of melodic death metal. I heard "They Will Return" and was just overwhelmed by everything happening, as it was all so new to me at the time. After that it was just a storm of exploration - Scar Symmetry, Amon Amarth, King Diamond, Opeth, Blind Guardian, Gojira, Jeff Loomis, Keith Merrow, Iced Earth, Periphery, Arsis, early In Flames, Mors Principium Est, Tesseract...I could go on for ages, but there's a small "stream of consciousness" sample. Currently I'm listening to Necromancing The Stone's "Jewel of the Vile" a lot. My next pick up will be The Reticent's "On The Eve of A Goodbye" - we just played a show with them and the atmosphere they create is amazing, so I need that!

Steve - When I set out to be the mouth noise maker of Undrask, I modeled my voice to sound as much like Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth as I could.  After a few years I finally found my own sound but, Johan and Amon Amarth remain major influences. I was raised on metal in the 80’s so it’s always been a part of me.  Dio (Ronnie is God), Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Dokken, Judas Priest, and Motley Crue were my early interests. As of today, I cannot get enough of Testament’s Brotherhood of the Snake.

Darryl - I’m a big fan of the melodic metal scene from the early 2000s so a lot of my composition is driven from that. That was one of the best periods of metal in my opinion, and since a lot of bands have moved on I’ve been missing that sound. The old sound of Soilwork, In Flames, Children of Bodom, and Opeth are big influences. A lot of the stuff Erik mentioned. Nowadays, I’m always trying to find new bands that can hit that combination I’m looking for.

Aaron - I’ve been in an array of different bands from jazz to punk rock to alternative and death metal. My biggest inspirations as a drummer are Mario Duplantier (Gojira), Brann Dailor (Mastodon), Alex Rodriguez (Saosin) and Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins)  just to name a few.

Daniel - It sounds cheesy but my bandmates are major influences on me. Their talent and work ethic inspire me to work harder and become a better player. Compared to my bandmates I’m not a metalhead but I love early Deftones and Cannibal Corpse, Pig Destroyer, and Municipal Waste to name a few. I hate to tell people I listen to a little bit of everything but it is true. When I am in the car it is a lot of drum and bass, house and metal. At home like in this moment I’m drinking a 40 while listening to Grover Washington Jr.’s “Winelight” album.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

While most of our free time these days is Undrask-related, we really enjoy good beer (Longhammer is actually a giant metaphor for drinking disguised as a song about a medieval-type warrior guy), and we all dig board games. A lot of us really enjoy travel - we've been to Iceland together recently for vacation. Aaron is into hiking and nature-y stuff. Steve and Daniel are pretty big into football (American). Darryl is a black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu. Erik is probably the most traveled, he's been overseas (out of the United States) a lot for vacation, but mostly he just plays guitar a lot. We all like video games as well, though it's hard to find any time to play them these days.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

First, we obviously hope you like the album!

Second, It's hard to express how grateful we are for your time. There's a lot of fantastic music today, among other distractions, so we're truly thankful and humbled by your interest in us.

Last, we'd love to hear from you! Facebook is probably the best way to get in touch with us ( Shoot us a message for any reason at all.


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