Anatomia and Undergang Form Another Deadly Alliance On 12″ Split (Early Album Stream)
It’s always a great day when gods of death team up, and for Japanese death metallers Anatomia and Danish beasts Undergang, this isn’t their first time. Not satisfied with the devastating results of 2017’s 10” crusher collaboration (released in both Danish and Japanese, which is a really cool gimmick!), they’re back some five years later with a second split to crush us again. Who does that? I can’t even think of anyone else—but it fucking works, as you’d expect from two masterful bands at the top of their game.
Anatomia’s side is just two songs, the appropriately-named “Total Darkness” and “Bound to Death.” Though Anatomia are labeled as death/doom and certainly live up to their name, particularly during a nasty section of near funereal dirge at the middle of “Total Darkness,” they keep things moving smoothly. As they have since their first album all the way back in 2005, there’s a nice mix of those slow-as-hell parts and more sludgy, trodding Autopsy ones.
Variety is the spice of life, and for Anatomia, that means that a song might embarrass Ahab for tempo and move at the pace of a steady, harrowing tank rolling over your head forever in a single track. Putrid vocals that gurgle and scream bring those song titles to life. Anatomia have been experimenting with their sound for twenty years now and all of that goes into this new split. The increased velocity on the faster sections is what really sells their side to me: it’s enough for a great split to just work as two cool halves, but Anatomia’s dynamics are what make this work as a single piece of music despite being written by two noticeably different bands.
Undergang, though a mite younger than their Japanese counterparts on this release, have more than enough experience to make perfect sense as a partner both in stature and in terms of their ability. Sometimes a split will be uneven, and a killer A-side like Anatomia’s can cause fears that the B-side won’t hold up, but that was never in doubt here. Undergang perfected their lurching take on the genre right off the bat with their first album and have been at the top of their game ever since, practically pioneering what has become the trendiest sound in death metal in the years since they started.
To say that they perfected their sound immediately is not to say that the band has been static for the last twelve years, however. Frontman and guitar-master David Torturdød has somehow made his vocals even grosser and lower over the years, becoming more like a bottomless hole every release. How he can keep reducing his bottom pitch is a mystery and it fits perfectly well with the nasty club-wielding rhythms; some leadwork and Finnish-sounding melodic second guitar (not too shocking from the same band that covered Disgrace just a few years ago!) offset the storm of torment, giving just enough of a break to make those trudging riffs hit that much harder.
There could not have been a more fitting pair up for a split, as is evidenced by the fact that they thought to do so years before this, and both sides of this new 12” are absolutely rotting fun.
Give Anatomia and Undergang a loud fucking listen, and read below for a quick interview with David (Undergang guitars and vocals) and Takashi (Anatomia drums and vocals).
This is the second time that your bands have teamed up for a split. What was left to say that you didn’t accomplish with the first split? Will there be a third one of these someday? A fourth?
David: Originally we were talking about trying to have both of our "new" albums ("Corporeal Torment" by ANATOMIA and "Aldrig i livet" by UNDERGANG) released around the same time as we were discussion that we were both finishing up new albums at the same time, so we talked about writing and recording some extra songs for the same album sessions that we could use for a new split together, to celebrate our still existing friendship between the two bands and then that we could perhaps do a joined release concert in Copenhagen when it suited Me Saco Un Ojo Records And Dark Descent records to have it released. Then Corona and lots of other things happened and for several reasons it didn't work outl, but the songs were written and recorded so the split was still to see the light of day.
ANATOMIA and UNDERGANG have shared several shows together in Europe and Japan on a few various occasions, so I thought it'd be fun to make new joint releases to show that we still had a good connection between the two bands. Does the world need a second split from us? Probably not. Did we enjoy doing it anyway? Absolutely. Don't hold your breath for a third or fourth, but never say never!
Takashi: Right, as David says, it all started with an idea to release our albums in the same timing and to celebrate our friendship, also I was thinking this was cool to do as we became label mate. We were talking, and had many plans to do, like visiting our countries each other for sightseeing, or recording, not just for live shows, but to me its very comfortable and lots of fun to collaborate with Undergang. I hope we will continue this things to work on something together in the future.
The last time there was an Anatomia / Undergang split, it was a shorter 10”, and this one is closer to being a genuinely-realized full album made by two bands. Was something cohesively fitting an album-style mold the goal?
Takashi: I think it was David's idea, right? We had two songs written at that time of the album recording and that these songs are perfectly fit in this 12" format in the time length.
David: Originally the first split was supposed to be an 8" vinyl release by Me Saco Un Ojo Records, which is why the songs from each band are about 8 minutes long. Eventually that format didn't make sense to releases, so it was released as a 10" vinyl instead. The idea was to make a longer and a bit different song from each band for the release there and I think we both did that at the time of the recording of those songs and the eventual release, which I delayed with art for 2- or 3 years, haha. I suck.
The new split was intentionally made with more songs to make it worthy of our listeners' money to purchase as both an LP and CD, as we thought it'd be good to have both listening needs offered which thankfully both Me Saco Un Ojo Records and Dark Descent record was up for.
Both bands have done numerous splits at this point. What keeps bringing each of you back to the format again and again?
David: To me, for UNDERGANG to share a split release with another band there has to be an already existing relationship between the bands, so it's a bit of a "friendship" release between the bands. I prefer for it to be a bit special like that at least. AT the same time, a split release is a good way for bands to help promote the other band to their listeners, who might not have checked out the band on the other side before but buy the split because they are familiar with maybe just the one band. For that reason I think it can be a fun thing too. It's however not the sort of thing I was for my band to do too much, so I think it'll be a while before you see UNDERGANG do that again... After the other 2 split releases we have coming out in 2022...Ugh...
Takashi: Yes we do. I know we are releasing splits like crazy, but as David say, it's for friendship, and we always have fun releasing splits. We don't want to waste the chance to collaborate with other bands, especially when working with friends that we know well. Probably, I think because we are in Japan, an island country. We potentially look for connections with people from abroad, and that's what I'm always interested in.
Last time there were separate Japanese and Danish editions. Was there any thought towards doing the same thing again?
Takashi: Haha, that was fun to do and cool idea to have two language versions. Maybe we can do it again for second press, can we, David? haha. Or maybe for tape release? I think Japanese fans enjoyed it though.
David: Not really, I felt that that gimmick was done with the first split and didn't need repetition. This time around everything should be able to read and understand what's going on... Until they try to read our lyrics and then only the Danish can follow again... Oh well!
Anatomia / Undergang releases March 15th via Me Saco Un Ojo Records.