Among the genre’s fastest rising bands, Undeath continue their skyrocket trajectory by staying true to themselves and honoring the extremity of death metal with their latest, It’s Time…To Rise From The Grave
Death metal up-and-comers, Undeath, have been making serious waves since the release of their debut full-length Lesions of a Different Kind. Aggressive touring followed and now their upcoming album, It’s Time…To Rise From The Grave is arguably one of the most anticipated death metal albums, if not albums in general, of 2022.
These New York based bruisers have brought back several elements of old-school death metal, previously lost over time since the genre’s inception. But, despite their meteoric rise, the band remains the humble, down-to-earth, fun loving guys they started out as. This was apparent in our chat with vocalist Alexander Jones, who was almost downright bubbly talking about the band, their rise to prominence and their goals for the future.
“Honestly, I try not to think about it, haha!” Alex said of their steep ascent in popularity. “When we started the band we had aspirations and we had goals in mind for what we envisioned the band could be, but it wasn’t anything close to the attention we have been getting. Lately, what I’ve been trying to do is to stay present, I’m trying to stay grounded and keep my head down and just continue to do what we do and hope that we can do it for as long as we can.”
One thing Alex and the rest of the band seem to have absolutely no trouble with is staying rooted. “It’s easy. It’s not like my life outside of Undeath has changed. I mean, we’re playing death metal. It’s not like we achieved a little bit of success and now I’m shopping for mansions in Beverly Hills, haha! I’m still broke. I still do all the things I would normally do. It’s just my band has a little bit of recognition now. And it is exciting! Above all else though, the thing I do is just work. I continue to write with this band; I continue to practice and just keep moving forward.”
Back in the beginning of the death metal genre, there was a clear, inherent ridiculousness to it, that over time became a case of “Why so serious?” as the humor was lost. Undeath however, draws attention to it fully embracing the realm of over the top violence delivered with a hefty dose of embellishment for effect.
“It is a balancing act for sure. We know who we are. We know ourselves pretty well. Everybody in the band, we’re not very self serious people. We take the music seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously. So it’s easy in that sense. But at the same time, we are constantly checking ourselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, to make sure things don’t start moving too far one direction or the other. Like when we were doing the music videos for this album, we did the “Rise From The Grave” music video and we wanted it to have that kind of Evil Dead, horror movie inspired aesthetic to it, but at the same time we didn’t want to lean too far into it and have it become too campy, too silly, too funny, this horror movie slapstick thing. So it’s a lot of checks and balances. It’s a process, but I feel like at this stage in the band, we’ve gotten pretty good at it.”
Their video for “Necrobionics” was a blast of nostalgia for every 90s kid into the first person shooter Doom. Alex had his clear favorite for which platform was superior. “Oh, PC 100%! I had a PS1 too, but I used it more for Final Fantasy. PC was my preferred Doom vessel.”
Undeath has shown a mountain of progression in their fast rising career, really coming into their own on It’s Time…To Rise From The Grave, but that doesn’t mean that fans won’t have any surprises to look forward to in the future. “I feel like we’ve found our lane, but I also feel like there is room to grow. Because I feel like this album in particular is kind of like the Undeath mission statement in a lot of ways. With Lesions of a Different Kind, the first record, we were kind of finding our sound a little bit more, we were trying out a couple of different things, seeing what works, seeing what we liked playing, what felt less good to play. Then with this album we are honing in on the elements that make the band exciting for us. So in that sense I feel like Undeath has crystalized our sound, but at the same time I’m not ruling out any possibility that for future albums or future releases down the road we’re gonna mix things up a little bit and try some other stuff. But , that being said, at the end of the day we are always 100% going to be a death metal band through and through.”
Adding two new members really rounded out the band. Each of the now five members brought different musical backgrounds and influences and really allowed the band to cement what makes Undeath. The writing process for this upcoming album was a whole new experience. “It made it more exciting for sure! It definitely didn’t make it more difficult. It was cool because when we were operating as a three piece, when it was just Kyle on guitar, me doing vocals and Matt playing drums, in a live space, that really limits what you can do in terms of harmonies or solos and stuff like that. So having Jared and Tommy on board on guitar and bass respectively was awesome! It really helped us tremendously in the song crafting department. So it opened up a lot of avenues for us.”
This is one band folks should not sleep on if given the opportunity to see them live. Even as an opener with limited stage space, Undeath is engaging, fun and riles the crowd into a frenzy. At the show in Portland, Oregon, they had people doing somersaults in the pit! And like every death metal band, they have their fun stories from off stage.
“There were definitely some nights of drunken revelry on the Black Dahlia Murder tour. There’s stuff that I want to say, but I don’t want to incriminate anyone, haha! But a thing that stands out to me was when we played Dallas, the vibes were great at that show. It was an outdoor show, it was a beautiful day, everybody was just feeling really good and we were past the halfway point of the tour, so everybody was in great spirits.
“So, Rivers of Nihil was on that tour and they’re awesome guys, very chill, but they weren’t drinking on that tour because they’d had some experiences in the past where they were like “Let’s do a tour sober.” Which I completely respect. But that night in Dallas was the night their album was coming out so they decided to cut loose a little bit. So they were partying with us and we all stayed at the venue for hours after the doors closed getting hammered and it gone insane. Everybody was absolutely wasted, myself included, it was a nightmare. But our merch guy is very straight edge. Doesn’t drink at all. Just a very hardcore guy. So he was just getting more and more frustrated with us as the night went on and at the end of the night, we were all trying to pack up the trailer, but we’re all falling over ourselves. And he got so mad at us that he was just like ‘I’ll do it! I’ll do it myself. Just leave me alone!’
“So we got back to the hotel we were staying at, and I don’t even remember what happened after that, but the next morning we woke up and at least two people in the band had left all of their luggage in the lobby of the hotel by the front door. They didn’t even think to bring it upstairs. That’s how gone we all were. That’s the thing that stands out to me the most from that tour.”
“One other thing that did happen that was kind of crazy was we were driving to Salt Lake City and we were driving through these mountains and none of us thought about shifting the van into a lower gear while we were careening down these mountain roads. So at one point, we were driving down this highway and the incline got really steep and the entire van just started shaking uncontrollably. And I remember thinking to myself “Well, this is it. This is the end of our band and my life.” But we pulled over to the side of the road and took it really slow the rest of the way. When we pulled up to the venue, Black Dahlia Murder’s tour manager came out and we were explaining to him why we were late and he was like ‘How fast were you going down these hills?’ And we were like “I don’t know, like 70-80 miles per hour.” And he was like ‘Yeah, don’t do that anymore!’
I don’t know what we were thinking! I mean, we’re all North Easterners, so everything is all flat and gray where we’re from.”
Showing no signs of slowing down, Alex has some particular bands he would love to tour with, if given the opportunity. “It’s never going to happen because they’re broken up at this point, but I would love to do shows with Bolt Thrower. I think that would be crazy. I love that band, that band was huge and instrumental to me getting into death metal and extreme metal as a whole. I love the way they carry themselves, I love their albums and that would be a game changer for us.
In terms of bands we actually could, the one that immediately comes to mind is Carcass. I would love to tour with Carcass. I would do unspeakable things to make that tour happen, haha!”
As the album release date approaches, we all have a lot to look forward to. It’s Time…To Rise From The Grave is poised to be on a lot of AOTY lists for 2022, and if it isn’t, I’ll eat my boots.
“I’m looking forward to not having to stress about it anymore! I’m looking forward to waking up in the morning and not thinking about how many days there are until it’s out. I’m looking forward to waking up to a world where I know it’s out, and people have heard it and people have made up their minds about whether they like it or not. It’s the waiting that kills me, so I’m excited for it to be everywhere.
“I want people to listen to the album and think that this is the perfected ideal of what an Undeath album could be at this point. Because I think that, right now, we have honed in our style, like I was saying, and we are just trying to do one thing really, really well. And I think we are proving to ourselves and to the people that like our band that this is what we are all about.”
As our conversation came to a close, we got onto the most important topic: Alex’s favorite dinosaur. “That is a career defining question! I don’t want to give a bullshit answer here so I’m going to look it up. It’s the dinosaur with the domed head. A Pachycephalosaurus! Just a big, smooth head, just like me! I’m team Pachycephalosaurus for life.”
It’s Time…To Rise From The Grave is out on April 22nd via Prosthetic Records. Pick up your copy HERE.
And, of course, if you have the opportunity to see Undeath live, do it. The band will be embarking on the next leg of the tour schedule with Dying Fetus, Chelsea Grin, Body Snatcher and Frozen Soul. Full tour dates can be found HERE. This album and Undeath as a whole, gets an enthusiastic *whip sound* LISTEN TO IT!
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