The kings of the Danish death metal scene, Undergang, has returned from the sewers with a new studio album for the first time since 2012's Til Døden Os Skiller. It marks the end to the "Døden"-trilogy, so in the future the Kill-Town threepiece will dive into other territories on future records, promising it won't get less macabre.
Undergang always managed to phase their albums really good, and this time around it is no different. You're not thrown into a random selection of tracks, but a record that's well structured which definitely is a plus and adds to the experience. It starts off with the title-track and is the shortest burst the band has recorded so far. What struck me on this particular track is the 8 seconds where you get an intro-piece. Thank fuck. There's too many bands these days who shoves an 2-3 minute long instrumental track in your face, which sounds just like hundreds of others. Instead of that you get a swift kick in the face.
The title-track, meaning Death Heals All Wounds, is about escaping life through drugs, alcohol and suicide. It's written in a special period of frontman D. Torturdøds life, where he was in a dark state of mind. This shines through in the music throughout the whole album, as this is the most sinister album the trio has put forth. And that is part of what makes this record fucking great.
"Døden Læger Alle Sår" is the best sounding Undergang record to date. The production is simply spot on and precedes previous efforts thanks to the mastering from Dan Lowndes. Gone is the unfortunate production from "Til Døden Os Skiller" where the band, after some unlucky circumstances were left with only the rough mix. This time we're presented a sound, a production that equally fits the quality of the songs. Undergang is grittier and more extremely rotten than ever, and don't worry, there's still plenty of feedback to go around. If you close your eyes, you could probably imagine being present at their rehearsal, being blown away while listening to this record. It's not overproduced, it's not sterile, it is just old school. And it is without a doubt the heaviest sounding outing so far, with all instruments and the vocals sounding just right for this kind of rotten death metal. Nothing outshines the other.
The album develops with great variation just like on the first album, but there's been added more delicious stuff to the recipe this time around. Doom elements find their way more often into this album, just take a short sniff to "Lemlæstelsens Kunst" and try not moving your head. And then you got a track like "Gravrust" that incorporates slow guitar work with some offbeat drumming which gets me every single time. As mentioned, the production and the songwriting simply make each other shine as they're pulled through the roof. The album knows when to pull you around the room and beat you up, when to let you catch your breath and then continue pulverizing you.
This album marks the very first time you'll hear a guitar solo on a Undergang record. Instead of filling each track to the brim with solos you'll forget anyway, beforehand you would be run over by the riff train. On the closing track, "Det Gør Kun Ondt Til Du Dør", that changes. The man himself, Eric Cutler from the legendary Autopsy puts this record to rest with a well played, and well produced solo, making it the best album closer Undergang has used so far. The intro guitar from the opening track is weaved well into this track as well, as it is used to built up tension.
You won't experience any modern death metal, when listening to any Undergang album and you never will. Depending on your current mood for music, the record might need a spin or two to get a grip on you, but once it does. It will not let go. Overall not all songs are not quite on-par with the ones from "Indhentet af Døden" which outweighs this album in the song department, but the production, there's no contest on that one.
I hope they will try to incorporate new influences in the future and not end up outing the exact same material, album after album. More doom perhaps? Maybe a Left Hand Path approach with haunting synthesizers? More guest solos wouldn't be a bad idea either, because they nailed it perfectly this time. "Døden Læger Alle Sår" definitely surpasses the previous album "Til Døden Os Skiller". I'm quite confident saying that this album is one of the best death metal albums you will hear this year. Despite being the longest album by the band so far, it does not outstay its welcome in any way. If you're new to this trio, you can't go wrong with this record and if you already know them, then I can't see why you should not pick this up.