Undergang Doden Laeger Alle Sar 01Prepare for a journey into a colossal hole, into the deepest chasm, into a cavern of fetid stench and ooze. Bet you thought I was going to make a “yer mom” joke there didn’t you? Well I didn’t, because I’m talking about destructive Danish death dealers Undergang and their third full length Døden Læger Alle Sår. Ever since I first heard their debut Indhentet af Døden I’ve been a fan, so I jumped at the chance to review this as soon as it came near my desk. If you want a boisterous, filthy, and weighty experience, look no further…except maybe to yer mom on a Friday night. Ha, I had it both ways! See you in H.R. Dr. A.N. Grier!

Since “heavy” and “death metal” aren’t exactly the most useful descriptors, I’ll dissect Undergang’s sound a little further. This is the cavernous and murky variety of death metal, drawing pretty heavily from the underappreciated Rottrevore while taking cues from DismaFunebrarum, and occasionally early Obituary as well. Naturally a heavy Incantation influence is present and accounted for, as it’s nearly impossible to play this style without drawing from those legends, but Undergang definitely isn’t a third-rate mortal clone of Nazarene. Instead, they manage to pull further influence from the early Finnish death metal scene via Abhorrence and their ilk, with the end result being death metal that’s all at once atmospheric and jam-packed with actual punishing riffs.

The successful repurposing of their influences is where Undergang excels, and “Kronisk Betændelse i tarmene” showcases this perfectly. It initially toys with the subtle melodic nature of Abhorrence and proceeds to incorporate Rottrevore’s style of beating with some hints of old Swe-death as well. It does a lot within a taught three and a quarter minutes, and “Jomfrublodbad” makes good use of over twice that. It combines elements from Incantation, Rottrevore, and Undergang’s own sound to produce a mass of churning riffs and shifting tempos that refuses to take its metaphorical eyes off the ball, keeping itself interesting and coherent, with the appropriation of John McEntee’s signature hammer-ons and pull-offs working brutal wonders in the midsection. “Kogt i Blod” is Incantation worship done right (read: without plagiarism), and the unsettling melody underpinning parts of it reminds me of Dirges of Elysium in quality and sound.

Undergang Doden Laeger Alle Sar 02What Undergang failed to do here (and on predecessor Til Døden Os Skiller for that matter) is recapture the lightning in a bottle that was a part of debut record Indhentet af Døden. While Døden Læger Alle Sår and Til Døden Os Skiller are both quality records and surely in the upper echelon of this sound, Indhentet af Døden’s use of brevity has sadly been thrown by the wayside. Although I have no issue with long records, it was the ruthless trimming of fat that helped make Undergang’s debut as great as it was. Much as guitarist and vocalist David Torturdød still writes killer riffs, cracks in the armour have made themselves seen. “Ad Ligbitum” employs an oddly bouncy riff that seems shoehorned in shoots an otherwise good song in the foot whenever it comes up. The introductory title track stumbles out of the block by going basically nowhere for two minutes, making for a bumpy opening to the record. Finally, while there isn’t a shortage of good material here, the inherent limitations of Undergang’s style makes the 51 minutes of death drag on occasion, and songs like “Lemlæstelsens Kunst” and “Radbrækket” stretch themselves too far length-wise with parts that while nonetheless decent sound like lesser versions of what Undergang did both here and on records prior.

Døden Læger Alle Sår is a good record by what I consider to be a great band. I’m at once happy and a bit disappointed with it, as while more Undergang is beneficial to the modern death metal scene, Døden Læger Alle Sår doesn’t reach the heights of the band’s debut and instead stays at the level of Til Døden Os Skiller albeit with a much better production job. It’s filthy yet wonderfully dynamic, a shining example of how this sort of music should be produced. The trio turns in great performances all around with smart and varied drumming by Anders Dödshjælp, massive yet tasteful bass courtesy of Ondsind, and Torturdød nearly reaching Demilich levels of low-pitched growling. There’s plenty of worthwhile material here but a little editing would’ve gone a long way, as monotony does set in at points. Put another way, when Døden Læger Alle Sår finishes I’m left musically “full” as opposed to my urge to immediately hit play again when Indhentet af Døden reaches its conclusion. Nonetheless, Undergang clearly has plenty of vitality left in them, and I sincerely hope they’re far from being done.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Dark Descent Records
Websites: UndergangOfficial | Facebook.com/Undergang
Release Dates: Out Worldwide: 07.10.2015

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  • Whoa, a DR10 on a brutal death metal album, kinda like seeing a black unicorn.

    • Excentric_1307

      I think that might be racist.

    • Doomdeathrosh

      You mean a BLVCK VNICORN?!

      • Dammit now it’s on the open and can’t use it for my new band

  • Francesco Bordoni

    There are few certainties in my life. Undergang is one of them – the dirtiest, filthiest one, that is.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    This doesn’t sound too bad. Bring a copy with you to HR. I’ll be here for awhile.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I’ll bring this, Operation, and Scrabble.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Sweet! I also snuck in Uno. I suspect I will become head of HR since I live here most the day. Then Candyland will be allowed!

  • Alexandre Barata

    Hm this sounds quite nice!!! Thanks for sharing

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Brilliant, brilliant review! One of the best I’ve read recently! I enjoyed the album, didn’t seem overly long to me but then again, I have never been one to stream entire death metal albums in a single sitting. Oh, and could anyone recommend say five solid death metal records? My library is lacking and last time I made a metal request I had music to last me literally months. But once again, brilliant review!

    • Martin Knap

      I currently listen mostly to these:
      The Crown – Doomsday King
      God Dethroned – Passiondale
      Dismember – Dismember
      Napalm Death – Smear Campaign
      The Chasm – Conjuration of the Spectral…
      Belphegor – Blood Magick Necromance

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Thank you very much! And for five solid death metal records, I’d say:

      Disma – Towards the Megalith

      Imprecation – Satanae Tenebris Infinita

      Perdition Temple – The Tempter’s Victorious

      Deathevokation – The Chalice of Ages

      Timeghoul – 1992-1994 Discography

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Thanks so much gents! Making my way through the lists as we speak!

      • Angel R. Suarez

        Dat Timeghoul.

  • Martin Knap

    The picture of an untrimmed bush of a human whale certainly comes to mind when I hear this :-P

  • Doomdeathrosh

    Sounds awesome! need to check these guys out.

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    I fucking love it. In an era of extremely polished death metal (with few exceptions), this stays true to the sound I love so much.

    Plus it’s in Danish too, this is a real treat!

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s definitely good to hear this kind of filth. Check out their debut if you haven’t heard that, it’s great!

      • Refined-Iron Cranium

        I’m on it, great review!

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Thank you! Undergang is also from a place called Killtown in Denmark, which is pretty amusing in its own right.

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            There isn’t exactly a place called Killtown here in Denmark… there was a Killtown Death Fest, a DIY volunteer festival for upcoming bands, also a K-town Hardcore Fest – it’s just a nickname for København (Copenhagen in Danish).

            Cheers mate.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Never knew that, thanks for the info! Pretty metal nickname for a place.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Really liking these guys. Thanks for bringing them to my notice. I love this kind of raw, messy sound with “bass-barreltone” vocals. I went back and listened to Indhentet af Døden, and agree that it’s killer.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    The cover art seems to me very much in the vein of 80s British punk. Reminds me of the cover art of bands like Charged GBH and The Exploited.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      The title means something like “Death Heals All Wounds” too, so it fits well with the image. It definitely has a messy DIY feel to it as, which I really like.

      • PanzerFistDominatrix

        Translation is absolutely correct :-) It is a play on the phrase “tiden læger alle sår” – time heals all wounds. The song “Ad Ligbitum” is also a play on words, ‘lig’ means corpse in Danish but the ‘G’ is not really pronounced so it sounds just like the normal phrase.

        And there you have it, a lil’ lesson in the Danish language that you certainly didn’t ask for – but all for free from the PFD!

  • whoa… that’s one deep growl. Almost as deep as Rigor Sardonicus’ singer (name escapes me.)

  • Tom Hardy

    And here we have yet another boring DDR release that sounds like most of their roster. I guess it fits if that’s the case. Musically, this is akin to being given home work for your least favorite class. Fancy playing out in the yard instead? Who wants to play? Anyone?