Interview with guitarist Necros
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: June 30, 2019
Undead Prophecies (formely Undead), this unknown Death Metal entity, first crawled among us humans in 2015 when they released their debut album, False Prophecies, on France's Listenable Records. They showed their love for the old-school side of Death Metal on that record, often being compared to such names as Death, Morgoth and Pestilence and for good reason, some might say.
After their successful and well-received debut, things quickly started to escalate for these anonymous hooded monks/priests and the groundwork for the band's second album begun.
March 22, 2019, the band's second album, Sempiternal Void, saw the darkest light of nightly horrors, musically following the true Death Metal path where they left off on the debut but with a new twist.
The Metal Crypt has always been curious about this mysterious Death Metal act since they catapulted their excellent debut album from the catacombs in 2015. We decided to contact the band, trying to find out a bit more about what's happening in the dark shadows...
Luxi: First of all, congrats on your new and excellent album, Sempiternal Void!
Necros: Thank you for your interview!
Luxi: Your debut album, False Prophecies, came out in 2015, and it took four more years to get this album ready to be published. Why did it take four years to get Sempiternal Void finished?
Necros: False Prophecies was originally a one shot. But when it was released, the critics were really enthusiastic. The tribute to Death Metal we made touched a lot of fans. We wanted it to be coherent, adapted to the stage. At the same time, we were putting ideas aside for a hypothetical new album. Then we decided to start the writing of this new album, Sempiternal Void. This kind of record must be done meticulously, we had to make the right choices to give our best effort.
Luxi: Did you change your songwriting methods for this new album or were they pretty much unchanged from your debut album?
Necros: Our writing habits didn't really change, on the contrary they evolved, in my opinion. First, I wrote most of the titles for Undead Prophecies. It allows us to follow a clear path. Then, we all gather to rewrite the titles before the recording process. That's the way we proceeded for the two albums with the riffs, structures, etc. We recorded False Prophecies at that step. But we wanted to go further with the new one. We were aware that with more times, the first one might have been more, may I say "polished." It didn't prevent it from being appreciated but with Sempiternal Void, we rewrote all the titles to give them more dynamism, more melody and strengthen the bass parts. We wrote "The Souls I Haunt" at this step. It was the moment when Zörk joined us. He brings his own vision to Undead Prophecies. He proposed a lot of arrangements; all were obvious and we kept it all. It was like a jigsaw puzzle; every part completed another. Batscum's parts gave the dynamism we lacked, the bass is more audible in Sempiternal Void, too.
Luxi: You also made a video for "Unholy Entity" off this new album. Was it a clear choice to place the band in a live environment on that video to give people a sneak peek about what they might experience from the band in a live situation?
Necros: Exactly. We already have a few live shows planned; the Eindhoven Metal, the Dark Easter Metal Meeting (in Munich), the Motocultor Festival and the Tyrant Fest. More shows coming soon, you'll be able to see us live for sure!
OF CHERISHING EARLY DEATH (METAL) HERITAGE
Luxi: Musically, the band represents the old school side of Death Metal, reminding people of bands like early Morgoth and early Death especially, sung with Martin van Drunen's vocal style. What's your fixation with this particular style anyway?
Necros: This is the way we express ourselves because we are Death Metal! Undead Prophecies' goal is simple; to bring the authentic Death Metal to life. There are a lot of Death Metal bands nowadays but just a few succeed in transliterating the urgency and energy of the first Death Metal albums. A band like Death really lived its music. It's the reason why each of Death's albums is unique, they follow Chuck Schuldiner's evolution through life. Our artistic way of composing is close to the early albums of Death and other early Death Metal precursors from all over the world. It's a period so full of inspiration, it opened so many paths that we want to explore today.
Luxi: You have a song called "The Souls I Haunt" on this new album, which differs from the rest of the record with its creepy, slowly crawling, dark atmosphere. Did you intentionally want to have a different style of song recorded for this album or was it just a pure coincidence that this song turned out that way?
Necros: Our music is full of contrasts; tempos, harmonies, rhythms, structures. We had to put those contrasts all over the album, even unconsciously. But there was a song title we struggled with and it eventually became "The Souls I Haunt". When we were searching for ideas, we found the chorus riff. We stopped for a moment and then Batscum gave us his own vision of Undead Prophecies. He told us that we needed a dark, mortuary, mournful and oppressive title. The tone was set! I took my guitar and played the chorus riff, Batscum gave us this huge slide and Drauhr beat his heavy rhythm. It was the most complex song on the album, and it includes a lot of new stuff (chain's, violins, two drums sets, some additional bass arrangement that must have pleased Cliff Burton). It took more than 250 tracks to mix!
So yes, it's a different title in many ways, but it's especially a new aspect of Undead Prophecies.
DEDICATED TO PLAYING DEATH METAL
Luxi: Was it essential in the beginning of the band to find like-minded fellows with similar musical tastes to form Undead Prophecies?
Necros: Our lives are dedicated to Death Metal. To play in Undead Prophecies, you have to understand the codes of authentic Death Metal, they're not the same as contemporary Death Metal.
Each member of the band masters this style. We don't have to talk endlessly to finish a title. The writing process is really smooth.
Luxi: When you think of the band's history, can you remember what made you decide to sign to Laurent's Listenable Records? Was there interest from other labels or was Laurent's reputation as a hard-working and reliable label boss weighted more when you had to make a decision about a suitable record label for the band?
Necros: We received several offers, but Listenable Records corresponded much to our expectations. Laurent (the boss) is an absolute fan before being the label's boss. He understands our approach and is even a part of it.
Luxi: You guys added the word "prophecies" to the end of the band's name after your first album, obviously to separate your band from other bands using the Undead name. I guess that was only the logical decision, right?
Necros: Some American Punk band The Undead contacted us and told us that they owned the name. To avoid issues, we took the name Undead Prophecies in reference to the first album.
MYSTERIES REVOLVE AROUND UNHOLY PROPHECIES
Luxi: A majority of people don't know who you guys are and speculating would just be a waste of time. Why did you decide to stay anonymous when you first put this band together? Did you want to become a Death Metal version of Ghost with the exception that you'd never reveal your true identities (which happened with Ghost)?
Necros: We want the audience to focus on our music and not on the members of the band. It doesn't matter who plays when you're listening to Undead Prophecies. You can't really compare us to Ghost, the targeted audience is really not the same. We play Death Metal, we are Death Metal, Ghost are business men. They exist through the image, not their music. We follow the path of Death Metal but we do it with our heart, with belief. This is the main difference between our bands.
Luxi: Does it bother you at all that some of your friends might reveal (like having big mouths when getting drunk in a bar, for example), who you are behind this mysterious band?
Necros: We don't have any alcoholics in our group of friends, ah ah ah!!!
Luxi: Which of you actually came up with the concept about forming a band in which everyone's identity would be completely hidden? When did those cloaks that you use in your promotional pictures and when performing live come into the picture?
Necros: The whole idea behind Undead Prophecies emerged in 2010. I was working on a new guitar sound and found it, I have kept it since then. I wrote four titles and three are on the first album. It was just for my own entertainment. A friend (not an alcoholic) listened to it and call me "Chuck" for fun. I understood that this music spoke for itself. So, in 2013 I decided to record a full album and in November, the lineup was set. We have known each other since eternity. With the album recorded, we needed a strong image for the band. And what can illustrate better Death than... hmmm, Death? That brings us in 2019...
Luxi: I noticed that you have agreed to play at Eindhoven Metal Meeting on December 14, 2019, but other than that, what else have you planned for this year live-wise?
Necros: We're working hard to make the best live show possible. We also have a tour project. We'll play other festivals, too (the Motocultor, the Tyrant Fest or the Dark Easter Metal Meeting). More coming soon...
Luxi: When talking about the future of the band, are 2-3-week tours possible or completely out of question?
Necros: We are actually planning a tour. We want to be accessible. We're going to play on big stages and want to make a real impact.
Luxi: If you got the chance to meet the one and only Chuck Schuldiner (R.I.P.) in another world outside of this current one we know of, what would you say to him?
Necros: Probably that he left an amazing gift and piece of art to humanity.
Luxi: That was it. I sincerely want to thank you for this interview and wish you all the best with the band. If you have anything to add, then be my guest...?
Necros: Thanks to your time, now you just have to get Sempiternal Void, it's objectively more than just another Death Metal album!
|Other information about Undead Prophecies on this site|
|Review: False Prophecies|
|Review: Sempiternal Void|
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