It’s become commonplace for metal bands to describe their new songs as “personal”, in the sense that they are inspired by real-world events experienced by band members, usually of the distressing or sad variety. Sometimes it seems that such claims are intended to make the music seem more “authentic” (“seem” being the operative word), and sometimes neither the events nor the music have the innate gravity that the bands hope for.
The forthcoming second album by Udånde, Slow Death – A Celebration of Self-Hatred, is also portrayed as a very personal record, but there’s a raw and uncomfortable honesty in the creator’s description of the events that spawned it which transcends the commonplace, and those events are likely to resonate with a lot of listeners. Moreover, the music itself isn’t commonplace either.
The person behind Udånde is a Dane named Rasmus Ejlersen, though he now lives in Bratislava, Slovakia. Thematically, his sophomore album under the banner of Udånde is described as a timeline (from 2009 – 2022) of his own long personal journey “of private, profound experiences with anxiety attacks, depression and anti-depressant medication.” “Each song,” he says, “depicts specific time periods of my existence from which were significant for my previous internal struggles”.
Ejlersen composed the music, wrote the lyrics, and recorded guitar, bass, and (for the first time) vocals. He was aided on the album by session drummer Nicko Vereš.
The first song released from the album, “and Denied All Sense and Reason”, is one that quickly seized our attention. As we wrote after discovering it, it’s in some ways a depressive experience, as you might expect, but much more than that too: “The bass lines will rumble your guts, the drums will crack your necks, the riffs are ravaging, the chords blaze, and the vocals descend deep into death metal territory”. There is, perhaps paradoxically, a feeling of ecstasy in this hard-charging song, which turns out to be infectious.
To follow that opening strike, today we present a second song from the album, the name of which is “I’m Not A Pessimist, I’m A Realist“. As for what inspired this one in particular, Rasmus Ejlersen tells us:
“The video is inspired by my first experience with antidepressant where I went to a new GP in Denmark to request a referral for a psychologist. The conversation lasted less than 10 minutes and resulted with an address for a local psychologist and a box of antidepressant to be collected at the pharmacy.
It left an impression of mistrust not only to the GP, but also to the system, that all psychological work required to prescribe antidepressants would only last less than 10 minutes. The fictional sentence “Take these and go, and be happy like everyone else!” did not seem that unrealistic.
In the end, I did not take them.”
The song is presented through a black-and-white video directed by Kasper Juhl, which YouTube decided should be presented with an age restriction, perhaps because the portrayal is so harrowing and perhaps because the participants eventually vomit blood. Regardless, the short film stands as a metaphor for the song’s subject matter, in which a menacing figure forces his captives to swallow pills — poisoning them and turning all but one into demon-masked predators.
The video is grim and frightening, and so is the song, but it will get your head moving and your pulse hammering too.
It begins with a strummed guitar that creates a somber, haunting spell, and ends with an equally slow and dark piano melody. In between, the riffing roils and throbs, creating a mounting sense of agonized tension, backed by electrifying, fast-changing drumwork and potent subterranean bass-lines. Ejlersen roars the words in cavernous growls that are as scary as the growing madness in the riffs.
There’s a brief reflective interlude of bird-song and shimmering ambience, and then the song batters and boils over again, immersing the listener’s senses even as it ratchets the feeling of torment and turmoil into the red zone, building toward a breathtaking crescendo in which a dire yet spectacular melody seizes attention in unforgettable fashion.
Well, perhaps the patient chose to treat himself, perhaps using the creation of this music as therapy. It wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened. Perhaps the music will be therapeutic to others, but at a minimum the song (like the album as a whole) has tremendous visceral power. It gets its hooks in the head and doesn’t let go.
Slow Death… will be released by Vendetta Records on December 2nd, and will be available for pre-order via the links below.
I suffer from depression for many years. The thinking of this person about the treatment makes me just angry and I want to intervene here with force. Any psychologist has a medical degree therefore they are the only ones who are allowed to prescribe the antidepressants – thats how it is for central europe. The antidepressants are only prescribes for a medium depression up to a severe depression to help to person to come to a state that opens the person for all kinds of therapy. While severe depressions will follow up into an immediate clinic time too. The actual therapy begins with visiting a therapist to start working on your own behavior – thats why its called behavior therapy to deal with this state of life that draws the patient into the depressive state. That means hard work for months and years and as soon as the patient learned how to keep himself from falling down, the antidepressant will very slowly tapered off.
This means this person did not even try to get better and this flags a false way for people who need the help. I lost my closed friend who took his life, left kids and family behind, because of such nonsense wavering around.
Seek help, its tough and it will get even tougher to go through but its necessary and keep the music as companion on that journeybut do not fall these false theories. Its not strong to do it on your own. The strong mind grows on the way actual learning how to deal with that darkness.