Only vulgar adjectives accurately describe the sounds fileted for public consumption by Danish trio Undergang. With a self-described M.O. of “regurgitating sewer death metal since 2008,” the band has spent the several years churning out bile-grade releases that harken back to the genre’s Nineties golden age. Indeed, albums such as Døden Læger Alle Sår manage to sound both currently relevant and inventive and satiating to nostalgia craving palettes. In this particular package of death metal atrocities, the band has crafted ten slabs of grotesque, punishing and well-crafted slime that remains consistently engaging. With plenty of reference points to be made with genre heavyweights as well as a signature garbage heap garnish, Døden Læger Alle Sår is an impressive feat of death metal butchery.
All of this is made possible by the multi-tasking magic of guitarist/vocalist David Torturdød. Seconds into the introductory title track, Torturdød oozes out the album’s first filthy riff from a perfectly treated guitar. With just enough clarity to ensure coherence, Torturdød’s guitar tone accents every build, tremolo and riff with a palpable amount of grime. It is almost as if he strung his guitar with rusted strings and then dunked the entire contraption into freshly boiled tar. Torturdød then proceeded to gargle the remaining tar, allowing his vocal chords to emit a bellowing gurgle that perfectly complements the devastation wrought by his fingers. And when bassist Ondsind makes his voice heard on tracks such as “Ondsind,” it is clear that his resonant crunch holds a similar girthy tone. Finally, while drummer Anders Dødshjælp could have easily been swallowed within this mix, his kit permeates brute force and seamlessly dances around his bandmates’ riffs with brutal yet varied percussion.
All of this equates to a murky combination that harkens back to vintage death metal. Comparable to a more straightforward Demilich, Onward to Golgotha era Incantation and a healthy dose of Autopsy, a thread of familiarity repurposed seamlessly allows Undergang to make Døden Læger Alle Sår feel like a perfectly restored antique. Though a majority of the record resides in doom-laden walls of darkness, Torturdød pumps out a plethora of excellent and catchy riffs throughout the album. “Ad Ligbitum” is an excellent example of this, with a thunderous, chugging initial riff breaking down into a multitude of variations, ranging from extended ringing doom to dancing fretboard wizardry. Moments on “Kronisk Betændelse I Tarmene” and “Kogt I Blod” even flirt with an Entombed style approach to guitar and drum work, albeit with this mid-paced shuffle being filtered through a much duller buzzsaw in order to ensure a slower, more painful death for the listener.
Other than a fairly conservative area of exploration, Undergang truly excels within their pocket of dirt on Døden Læger Alle Sår. A keen desire for sewer-dredge level grimy heaviness – accented with inventive and refreshing compositional variety – has created an album that sounds dirty enough for the Nineties but advanced enough for the present. Døden Læger Alle Sår is an album for any death metal fan who wishes for Torturdød to pour the tar from his guitar onto them, feather them roundly and then toss them next to cranium deficient carcass depicted on the album’s cover.
Undergang’s Døden Læger Alle Sår gets…