Album Review: Undergang – Aldrig i livet 9.4 (Death Metal)

Written by Carcassbomb

  • Undergang
  • Aldrig i livet
  • Death Metal (Doom, Grind)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Release via Dark Descent Records
  • December 4, 2020
  • 9.4/10

Fun. A lot of fun. There’s something Undergang does in their writing that draws you into it with all of your enthusiasm. Some parts of this had me moving like the metal version of those goth kids dancing at the underpass or the wacky waving inflatable tube man. On the other hand, they managed a few times to descend into an utter dirge that will tickle your dark. It’s a varied album that comes off as an intelligent deconstruction of death metal rather than blind worship of it. They have a deep understanding of old death, doom and grind – far beyond my own.

Death vocals are generally something that feel quite forceful, or like a lot of effort, whereas D. Torturdød has a weirdly relaxed approach to death vocals that focus more on modulation and even theatrics that are well plotted with the instrumentation. It’s worth noting the vocalist also did the album cover for Aldrig i livet which I appreciate for the old school comic book style. There’s a lot of nice detailing with the bathroom tiles, jacket and the hair. A nice break from the typical duality of death metal right now which is either on the side of pristine watercolor or messy line art gore. This piece is more of a personal touch for the band.

I stopped writing this to go buy the cassette from Dark Descent Records. I wasn’t going to buy anymore tapes but I’ll make an exception for a unique and high quality album like this… aaaand now I’ve purchased additional tapes, fuck. This comes out the same day as Depravity so it’s gonna be huge on the 4th.

Undergang: Bandcamp / Facebook / Instagram

It’s just different, even when it’s not. Perhaps courtesy of the recording and production process, or as a result of some of the well used effects. I’m used to super muddy death doom but Undergang don’t have a singular sound like that, there’s clarity amongst the ruinous soundscape, particularly wielded by the guitars. The vocals are usually enough on their own to contribute a thick layer of distortion over the tracks that feel weighty even when the tune gets fast and punk. You get the sense that the music would soar right into the sun if it weren’t for this belching toxic muck creature chaining their legs to the earth where they will rightly perish. Humans don’t belong in the sky.

Speaking of perishing, while I can’t find lyrics or understand Danish, all of the songs appear to center around various body horrors from predatory animal slaughter and bacterial infections to the abuse of corpses. It’s a visceral album that spits when it talks and forces your mind into a physical realm to be tortured.  There’s a bridge here between death metal and goregrind that maintains the belligerent nature of both genres while being more sophisticated than your usual goregrind. Undergang are very capable and comfortable in this realm. They can play any length of song, be it the two minute long opening tracks, three minutes or over five minutes. It’s all here.

One of the hardest hitting albums you’ll hear in 2020 and it’s been waiting until December to get us. It’s such a satisfying album. I especially love how the title track is eight tracks into the album and brings back all of the big dick starting energy all over again before launching into the two longest tracks on the album, serving as a dense ending point in contrast to the thin one minute openers. You’d look pretty silly if you didn’t check this one out.

9.4/10

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