With a thunderous rumbling of melodeath from North Carolina hails Undrask, an thrilling band on the verge of releasing their second album God Emperor. To mark this exciting event I had a chat with the guys in the band.
Hello, Rick here! Who am I speaking with?
Erik [Collier, guitar] and Steve [Wynn, vocals] here from Undrask, glad to meet you!
Undrask is about to release its second album God Emperor (which I assume it’s not related to Dune), and you said that this album explores the story of the creation of the Longhammer – a track on your previous album Battle Through Time.
So, fill me in: how did this story start, and how does it go on? Were you set on doing a series of concept albums from the start?
So the track titled Longhammer from our first album, Battle Through Time, was actually written as one long metaphor for binge drinking at a party with the express idea of having the lyrics parallel a battle between warriors – one might say, the battle between sobriety and drunken stupor.
A reviewer by the name of DR. WVRM over at Angry Metal Guy interpreted the track to be about a “mystical mind-controlling warhammer” and we found that to be awesome, hilarious, and appropriate, so we took it to heart and wrote an album about how such a weapon might come to exist.
We were definitely not set on back-to-back concept albums (it could be argued that our first was a bit loose with the definition), but it helped get the creative juices flowing, so we just went along with it.
You have released two videos accompanying songs from the album: where did you shoot them? Why did you choose these two songs, The Mountain and The Thing In The Pit?
The Thing in the Pit is definitely the most straightforward, “metal” track on the album, and we thought it might be easy to digest for fans of some more mainstream bands. We also really enjoy playing that one and figured it would be good to put it on the permanent setlist with a video!
For this one, we shot the band scenes in Steve’s basement and the action scenes at Gem Mountain in Spruce Pine, NC. Special thanks to Justin Reich for making it all look way better than we could have imagined.
The Mountain was chosen specifically for the return of our warrior hero from the Longhammer video – a continuation of his story. When we brainstormed some video ideas for a few different tracks, The Mountain got tagged with a “storm the brewery” idea, and we wound up liking that concept for the follow up to Longhammer.
For this one, we shot everything at Oden Brewery in Greensboro, NC. Absolutely fantastic brewery in every sense!
What has been the best and worst part of being in a band so far?
Best part, the fans, hands down. We’ve met some really cool people, and look forward to getting back on the circuit to catch up with some of them.
Worst part, sucking up every ounce of free time. We love it, no doubt, but we’re all busy with life and kids, and the amount of extra effort that goes into keeping the music train chugging along is steep.
Wouldn’t change it, because that’s just what it takes, but sometimes it does get overwhelming! Once the kids are grown, we look forward to being the old dudes still hanging on to the dream.
As of now, Undrask is unsigned. Is this a precise choice, to walk the path of an independent band? Are you interested in signing a deal? I imagine that an album like God Emperor will spark the interests of some labels!
We briefly shopped God Emperor out to a few major labels, but in all honesty we’ve just been dormant for so long that we didn’t really expect a response, so we decided to launch rather than sit on it for an unknown amount of time.
We’re open to discussions, but are just as happy plugging along on our own for now. We like making our music, we like each other, so we’ll just keep on trucking regardless of what may come!
You are the second band in a row I interview that’s from North Carolina. Is the scene vibrant over there? Was it difficult to emerge as a band?
It was, at least pre-pandemic. We had a couple of great shows lined up that got cancelled in mid-2020, then several of us had kids, and we haven’t been back on the scene since then.
As for emerging, it’s certainly not an easy task to get the word out. Touring does still seem to be the benchmark for popularity growth, and with outside commitments, it’s just difficult to do. We’ll certainly try in the near future!
Will you embark on a tour after the album is out? Places you’d like to play in, bands you’d like to tour with…?
As we mentioned, we’d love to put together a tour, or get on one. As for bands, one of the shows that was cancelled back in 2020 would have been with Aether Realm and Paladin, which we were quite excited about (and subsequently bummed about, when it got cancelled due to Covid-19).
We’ve played with Aether Realm before and they’re awesome dudes, and quite deservedly successful now. Would love to have that opportunity again, so we’ll see what happens in the future!
Thanks a lot to everyone in Undrask for their time! Do not miss God Emperor, which will be out on April 21st, and pre-order it on Bandcamp. Follow the band on Facebook and Instagram!
Rick is a physics student from Italy, who besides loving metal music, also digs books, movies and science. He plays the drums, guitar, and kazoo.