Out of the dark and into the light

Underdark are a death metal band from Poland who have somehow resurrected the sound of groovy death metal with hints of black metal on their latest album, “In The Name Of Chaos.” It is a dynamic album full of philosophy masked in the twisted themes that makes death metal so enjoyable to listen to. For those who miss the days of Death and early Six Feet Under, Underdark are the band to listen to. Drizzt, who performs guitar and vocal duties, sought an interview with BRUTALISM.com and gave a very enjoyable talk. He had no fear of getting into Underdark’s personal side, which will provide the fans an opportunity to get to know the band better.

Hello Underdark. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview for the BRUTALISM horde. You must be proud of your recent debut album
Hi guys! Yeah, I guess it's true. We've done our best, worked hard in our rehearsal bunker and then in the studio. Since we've finished the recording and mixing I personally had some time to get a distance to it. I'm especially proud of one thing. We received great feedback from fans. We've heard many complements about this record, and you know it makes me feel happy and proud. When people send you e-mails or talk to you at gigs telling you that they've listened to the album and really enjoyed it, it's a wonderful thing a musician can hear :)

So far has it been received well in Poland, your homeland? Any recent plans to release it worldwide?
To be honest with you, I'm surprised with the feedback we got from press in Poland. We had very positive reviews in underground press or even mainstream rock music magazines. I don't wanna quote anything in particular cuz that wouldn't be too modest. As far as worldwide release goes, a Greek label called Sleaszy Rider Records is going to release "In The Name of Chaos" with worldwide, full-scale promotion and distribution. I can't give you an exact date, but it'll be soon. Before the release date you can listen to samples at our MySpace.

Tell us a bit about how Underdark got started? Where’d you come up with the name?
We started as a bunch of friends who listened to metal and decided to play in a band one day. I met with Spider and we both said: "All right, let's kick some ass, at least let's try". Later on Dyvan joined our "venture" :) We had little skills, no cash for equipment, we couldn't find a drummer or a place to rehearse for a long time, but we had heart and we put all our energy to the band. The name Underdark was used in one of the first lyrics, and Spider suggested to use it as a name for the band. It comes from RPG and fantasy books series, because fantasy literature and that stuff has been my piece of cake for some time.

Any particular influences you’d like to name that have helped inspire your style?
Any influences? I'd rather say that we've got different taste. Spider for example is an old school heavy metal maniac. He listens to guys like Y.J Malmsteen or Black Sabbath. Dyvan is more into brutal extreme metal or grindcore. I like more epic stuff. Definitely these are not the influences that one can easily recognize listening to Underdark. It's maybe because we never consciously copied anyone. It's a bit different when it comes to playing your instrument. A few weeks after we've let the studio, Spider played me a song with a solo by Randy Rhodes. And guess what? The style of playing was similar to the style Spider used in "Gospel of Netherworld". But it was 100 % unconscious. :)

To you, what separates Underdark’s style from the rest of the death metal bands out there?
To me, if I'm allowed to express my thoughts, Underdark is a bit different from most bands from this genre. We care more about emotions, eerie atmosphere, untypical harmonies melodies. We are not a technical band. Don't get me wrong. We know how to use our instruments but our goal is NOT to expose it. In my opinion there are so many great death metal bands who put technique on the first place, but there are records or songs where there is "not enough music... in music"

Describe your sound in one word.
Sophisticated. I don't mean "avant-garde", cuz we're not an avant-garde band. Think about brutal extreme metal with the touch of... transcendental. :)

What’s your favorite part about being in a metal band?
I enjoy two things in particular. First is composing new songs. I do it alone. I pick my guitar and try to copy/paste ideas and emotions from my brain to the notes. I love the moment when a song begins to "live its own life". Second thing I like are concerts. Standing face to face with a crowd is the essence of being in a metal band I guess.

Ten years before you started, did you see yourself doing this kind of music? What got you into metal from the beginning?
Ten years before we started Underdark I was 10 and I don't think I could think consciously about what I would do. When I was a teenager I dreamt of being a musician, but I haven't met the right people. What got me into metal? When a friend of mine played me "Individual Thought Patterns" by Death and said "LISTEN TO THIS!" I got stuck because this was the first time I've experienced such interesting and developed music in general.

Underdark’s style seems to have a great balance between melody and also brutal death metal. This creates a fresh sound for fans. How do you structure your sound? Is it a big focus on guitars, drums, vocals, etc…?
Good question. How we do it? I guess that the focus you asked about is on a song in general. When I write a song I think about rhythm and brutality in drums and vocals and melodies harmonies in guitars. Dynamics is also important so that the song or riff "rocks" (I couldn't find a better word, you know). Every instrument in Underdark is equally important. As far as sound we achieved in studio we deliberately put guitars "on 11.” We didn't want our album to sound like 99% other bands. I mean drums and vocals and then the rest :)

“In The Name Of Chaos” is a big step up from your demo released back in 2007. What changes in maturation can you see between the two that have made you better?
Thanks for seeing the progress. I think that if you think about your band day and night then you progress. We've learnt a lot from listening to music, playing music, talking to people, watching musicians. Our songs are much more complicated and brutal on the other hand. What we really want is to put Underdark's music one step further, deeper, harder, you know what I mean.

Any particular tracks off the new album you feel deserve special mention?
"Rebirth" is a bit... different. It's our "flyaway". We decided to make it instrumental but it's not an acoustic shit, 1 minute track and stuff like that. It's a regular song without vocals. Guitars and violin did the talking :) "World Reframed" is my favorite. It's a quintessence of our music. You have different sounding riffs which are put together in a way that a song is coherent. You can hear brutal blasting and "Under-melodies"

The album seems to carry a dark, Satanic notion. A lot of the music reflects on the bands and sometimes people take it a bit too seriously such as thinking that bands who perform death metal really mean what they growl about. What do you say about people who take the music a bit further than you’d like?
To be honest with you, I've never thought about it. Our lyrics are mostly based on mythology, or modern version of it which is fantasy. We don't want to express ideology in our lyrics or music. On the other hand if someone takes the music a bit further it probably means that music made a big impact on that person's mind. Probably I haven't thought about it because personally I can distance myself to the music and lyrics.

How has death metal changed in the last ten years? Is there anything in particular that Underdark really likes or dislikes about it?
Death metal is faster, the sound you can get in studio can be better and it is great. The only thing that I personally dislike is that it becomes too mechanical. When I listen to albums from 90's a hear organic sound, I hear more emotions. Some bands of 2010 tend to put aside those things. I call it "soulless" death metal.  What I like nowadays are black/death metal bands. On one hand you've got death metal riffing and on the other you've got black metal harmony. It's cool for me.

Are there any recent acts that you really look up to?
Since we started a cooperation with Sleaszy Rider Records I decided to check a few Greek bands. I hate to say it, but I've never been familiar to any of them apart from Rotting Christ. I've only known the names. Since that moment I became a fan of Septic Flesh. I bought their last and previous album, and I patiently wait for their next release. When we have a drink with friends I very often play "Communion" and headbang :)

Let’s talk a moment about touring. You mention on Myspace that your goal is to promote the new album. Are we any closer to achieving that goal and if so what’s the first stop?
We've got two big shows to play in Poland. We're going to support Belphegor and Impaled Nazarene on their Polish legs of their tours. Then we'll do our best to play abroad. You know, we love playing concerts and we enjoy standing in front of the crowd and perform, so we'll do whatever we can to do it often.

The fans are important, as they are with any band. What do you like best about them?
What I like most about Under-maniacs is that we can share big fun with them. I mean we have a lot of fun when we play our songs. And for me fans are the ones that you can share this passion with. I've recently seen Death Angel on their recent Polish gig, and Mark Osegueda said one thing that moved me: "we're hear because we like to play music to people who love music.” We have similar thoughts, I guess.

Craziest thing a fan has done for the band… good or bad?
Funny question indeed. :) I can remember one funny situation, when we played couple of years ago in a small town in Poland where we have a bunch of dedicated fans. One of them started moshing while the band who was supporting us began to play, and his friends dragged him away from the pit and one of them said passionately: "hey, what da f$k are you doing, it's not Underdark yet" :) I've heard it because I was watching their show and the club was small. This is one of many interesting moments. Probably when I'll read this interview on BRUTALISM a funnier story would come to my mind.

When you aren’t writing music or performing shows, what do you do for downtime?
Together with Spider and some of our friends we got interested in billiards. Great fun :)

Do you find it hard or easy to balance life in the band with other priorities such as other jobs or family?
You know, I think that it is extremely hard. Of course you can be successful as a father/husband or employee and be a great professional musician but it is almost impossible when you start a band. I guess you have to focus your attention 100% on the band. Full time job and family naturally distracts your mind from it.

Any advice for metal heads who just may be starting out on their journey to rocking this world? Thanks again Underdark. Let’s hope good things for the future.
I don't feel in position to give anyone any advice, because just as I said above we're in the beginning and WE NEED guidance and mentoring. Yet we achieved something, and made a visible progress from a local band that you can only laugh at, to the signed band recording albums and playing concerts. Let me quote an experienced person who gave me a helpful piece of advice when I started. "You've got to believe in what you do and what you want to do... and get your lazy ass to work!"

Thanks a lot for this chat. It was really nice to do it for BRUTALISM!

If you want to have your own opinion about our debut album called "In The Name of Chaos" check out our www.myspace.com/underdarkdeathmetal We hope you'll enjoy it!
Interviewer: devilmetal747
Sep 2, 2010

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