Album Review

Album Review: Undergang – ‘Aldrig i Livet’

Posted by Ralka Skjerseth on Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 3:13 AM (PST)
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Undergang – Aldrig i Livet 
Review By Ralka Skjerseth
Release Date: December 4th, 2020
Label: Dark Descent Records, Me Saco Un Ojo, Extremely Rotten Productions

 

The precarious side of the Copenhagen underground music scene has always been fascinating to me, especially with names like Halshug and Nuclear Death Terror surrounding. This time, I found a recent interesting discovery which is the death metal act Undergang. The band has been around since 2008, actually. And back in December 4th, 2020, they released an impeccable new album called Aldrig I Livet which is signed to Dark Descent Records, Me Saco Un Ojo, and Extremely Rotten Productions.

 

Having characteristics that incorporate the elements of Finnish old school death metal, Undergang’s sounds will remind their listeners of Abhorrence and Demilich, mostly when it comes to the intricate riffs and gnarly guttural vocals. The Finnish influence can also be found on the name of one of their previous records, Kuolema Parantaa Kaikki Haavat (translation: “death heals all wounds” in Finnish). It’s not like I understand enough Danish to comprehend the whole lyrics on this album, but my intermediate proficiency in Norwegian (which is mutually intelligible with Danish) helps me understand the main themes that are elucidated in the lyrics; which are death, bacterial infection, corpses, and the act of slaughter. Belligerent enough to represent the brutality of the death metal scene — followed by the fact that Aldrig I Livet roughly means “over my dead body”. The cover art of this album, which is said to bear a striking resemblance to Totalitär’s Sin Egen Motståndare (although not intentional), manifests Undergang’s own familiar idea that death is the escape from life when life gets too much, with the illustration of a man cutting his own throat. It strengthens the gory imagery of Undergang.

 

It has been almost four years ever since Undergang last released a full-length album. If their previous release Misantropologi (2017) is rather inclined towards doom metal-esque elements with its slower paces and absence of blast beats, then Aldrig I Livet rather sticks to their death metal roots; with its abrasive and chaotic grinding sounds, even though the deeply resonating doom elements are still a bit intact. The undecipherable vocals of Aldrig I Livet present erratic layers of distortion and involve a lot of gurgling. There are a lot of menacing hooks you can find on this album, also followed by stark riffs with thick atmospheres. The drums kind of implement punk elements, and the groovy fast paces of the drums help build a ghastly nuance. Reverb and distortion can also be found on this album, precisely on the title track “Aldrig i livet”. Meanwhile, cleaner guitars are presented on “Ufrivillig donation af vitale organer”. The track “Sygelige nydelser…” features feedback and has a vehemently heavy guitar solo from around 01:15 to 01:14. You will come across resonances that will remind you of early Carcass materials on the track “Indtørret”, and you will come across a convergence between death metal and crust punk on the track “Rødt dødt kød”. The track “Menneskeæder” is one of the tracks that makes you instantly notice the Finnish old school death metal reference.

 

My verdict is that Aldrig I Livet intensely brings you to a funereal yet memorable death metal experience. You will find incoherent distortions and massive hooks here and there, and that’s surreal. Not only that it will bring you back to early Carcass materials, but also early Obituary materials. I can see that Undergang keeps on growing and improving, and Aldrig I Livet is one of the manifestations of their growth.

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