Morning Star Disciple

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Anyone who has read my work over the years at this very site or my other past outlets know that I have a a Skogskyrkogården cemetery cross sized boner for anything Swedish death metal. And 2014 has been a banner year for the style and tone with killer releases from the likes of Brutally Deceased, Incarnated, Putereaon, Ending Quest, Just Before Dawn Entrails demo collection, just to name a few. There’s is something about that timeless guitar tone that keep on living despite its age as evidence by the endless revival of the style.

Heck, even the Americans are also getting in on the act with Horrendous, Skinfather and Unwilling Flesh delivering equally as impressive takes on the genre. The latter, Unwilling Flesh is a killer new side project from Andrew D’Cagna, better know for his work in far more blacker pastures in the likes of Nechochwen and Obsequiae and has just released his debut Between the Living and the Dead, on Eihwaz recordings, a sub-label of Bindrune Recordings. And boy does it rock, (check the review here), so I decided to find out a little more about this killer new side project that delivers the classic Stockholm sound in spades.

So Andrew, tell us how Unwilling Flesh came about from inception to the current release of the killer debut, Between the Living and the Dead?

Well there isn’t much to tell. I had planned on doing an homage to Swedish Death Metal project for years now, but time just never allowed for it. Apparently, now was the right time. I have a modest little project studio in my basement so I just chipped away at it song by song in my free time. Didn’t take long, the songs flowed out quite effortlessly.

Is this a project/idea that has been simmering for long time or a sudden thing?

At the risk of repeating myself, it’s literally been simmering for decades. I grew up listening to this stuff, so it was inevitable that this project would come to light eventually.

Is it a nice break or relief from your other projects to get away from foresty black metal to something more forceful?

It was definitely cathartic to release this project from my mind and soul, but my musical endeavors are not limited to death and black metal. Aside from hip hop and modern country, I am a fan of almost every style of music. Having my project studio and providing services as a session musician have granted me the liberty to dabble in a myriad of genres over the years.

What about that classic Swedish style and tone made you want to release your own homage?

You already stated it in the question : TONE. That buzzsaw guitar tone is probably THE MOST recognizable sound in death metal. I was drawn to it the minute I heard Entombed‘s “But Life Goes On”, courtesy of Earache’s Grindcrusher Comp. There’s no other sound like it! But that isn’t the only element of Swedish death metal I adore. It’s a total package and I love it all. From the half barked/half growled vocal approach to the crust/hardcore influenced use of the ” d beat” drum patterns, I don’t discriminate.

You have really nailed both the tone and the riffs and even the cover art. What was your recording set up to get the perfect Swededeath tone?

Aside from recording analog and actually going to Sunlight, I did it by the books. Boss HM-2 Heavy metal pedal with ALL knobs cranked. I played a baritone guitar (tuned to B) and ran from the Boss pedal directly into a Blackstar head into a Marshall 1960 cab. Bass was performed on a 5 string Schecter with some overdrive dialed in to taste. Drums were Sonor from around 2000.

There of lots of nice, subtle little nods and winks to the classic albums, (“Fathoms Unfound” reminds me of Dismember’s “Recon Patrol 17″) but “Bathed in Desolation” has to be a nod to Entombed’s “Sinners Bleed” from Clandestine, right?

It’s more than a nod, it’s almost a cover! And that’s not the only song on there that borders on plagiarism. I straddle that fine line through the entire record. And to me, that was always the intention. This recording is 100% shameless genre worship, plain and simple. It’s clearly stated in the bio/press release. I am NOT trying to re-invent the wheel here. Consider it a playful re-creation, because that’s exactly what it is. I am not from Sweden, and at the time this music was enjoying its heyday I did not possess the gear OR the talent to produce something like this. That’s why its happening 25 years later.

Where would you rank  Clandestine,among the revered albums of the genre?

I’d put Clandestine in the top 5, alongside Left Hand Path, the first two Dismember records and Carnage‘s “Dark Recollections”. I love all 5 of these records equally , for different reasons. They all sound very similar, but have their own identity at the same time. I’d like to think I’ve done something similar with Unwilling Flesh. Of course, there are other classic records I highly regard, I just cited my personal top five.

What are your thoughts on the Entombed/ Entombed AD drama? have you heard the Entombed AD album?

Unfortunately, I do not have my finger on the pulse of current events anymore. I did read a little about the situation, but not enough to comment. I have heard the Entombed AD record however, and I think it’s great. Definitely better than Serpent Saints, in my opinion. That one kind of sounded “phoned in” to me. The “Masters of Death” song with Killjoy on guest vocals was cool, but the rest of it? Meh. I’m just happy to LG forging on and continuing his live performance career. That dude is a total badass and a consummate professional in my eyes.

I hear some Desultory in your sound along with the obvious Entombed influence- correct?

Yeah? Really? Okay, cool. If you say so, then thank you. Those guys kind of passed me by and I didn’t even hear them for the first time until they broke up. Wasn’t that Lars Rosenberg’s other project? Hell, I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t remember that band grabbing me by the soul like the other aforementioned bands. I loved the more obscure bands like Eucharist, Unanimated and Excretion.

If you had to pick one of the Swededeath albums, obvious/obscure or otherwise to take with on a desert island, which one would it be and why?

That’s easy. Like an Everflowing Stream. That one changed my life and still enjoys constant rotation in my playlist. To me, that’s the perfect death metal record.

Alright- lets hone in even more- same question but what single song?

Now THAT”S a toughie. I love them all! But if i had to choose? “Override of the Overture”. It’s perfect in every way. The most intense moment to me on that record is on the next track, “Soon to be Dead”. Three quarters of the way through, where Matti screams “HELL! AWAITS ME! MY SOUL IS RAPED!” Shivers, every time man.

The style has scene a real resurgence of late with bands from all over doing the style very well from Sweden’s own Entrails to Eastern Europe’s Brutally Deceased and Morbider then you guys and Horrendous from the US- are there any of these current bands that you enjoy?

Like I said, I have no idea what’s going on in the scene right now. Sorry, there’s just too many bands and not enough time to check them out.

Have you heard the Horrendous album- there are some similarities between you guys except, you guys re the more direct, blunt force trauma, while they re getting a little more experimental.

Please see sad sack excuse in the previous answer.

What are your thoughts on the new bloodbath and addition of Nick holmes?

You know, the drummer in my main band just let me hear the new Bloodbath the other day, and I love it! I’ve always been a Paradise Lost fan, and I’ve read that Anders/Katatonia has always been greatly influenced by them as well. So I’m sure this is like a dream come true for him right now. I’ve enjoyed every vocalist that Bloodbath has employed so far, but I think that Nick may be my favorite so far!A common thing with this style is cover songs, was there any temptation to rip out a cover song?Oh yeah, definitely. I’ve done a cover of Entombed‘s “Eyemaster” in the past, but it was just for self amusement. If I were allowed to pick a cover, I’d choose to REALLY challenge myself and attempt the quite rare “The View” from Eucharist. That thing is a fucking marathon of talent and stamina. If I could pull that off I’d be really proud of myself.

With the band being two man project is there any chance of seeing Unwilling Flesh live?

Not a snowball’s chance in hell, sorry.

Any parting message for the readers?

Drink beer, listen to metal, bang your head. That is all.


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