I think we’d be happy even if no one listened, just making an awesome album with your friends that you enjoy is a great feeling.
Undeath have just released their second album It’s Time… To Rise From the Grave and it’s a storming collection of straight to the point abc high energy death metal anthems. The Rochester, NY band have been on an upward trajectory since releasing their debut album Lesions Of A Different Kind a couple of years ago and this latest album takes them even higher. Gavin Brown caught up with guitarist Kyle Beam to talk about It’s Time… To Rise From the Grave and a multitude of other things including their recent album launch, brewing their own beer, horror movies, music in their Rochester hometown and killer death metal merch.
E&D: Your new album It’s Time… To Rise From The Grave has just been released. The response all round seems to be so positive. Are you happy with how this album has been received?
Kyle: Hell yeah! I think we’d be happy even if no one listened, just making an awesome album with your friends that you enjoy is a great feeling. That said – the response has been awesome, overwhelmingly so. Thanks to everyone who’s listened and supported us!
E&D: Was making the album a fun experience and did you have to change the way you normally make an album with everything going on?
Kyle: Naw, really nothing changed. All the music I’ve ever written has been with guitar in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other.
E&D: How do you feel you’ve evolved as a band from your Lesions Of A Different Kind debut?
Kyle: Well, we’ve started to nail down the things that work for us. Boiled and distilled if you will. When you first start a band you can do anything, any kind of groove, drum beat, riff, etc, but the process of finding what you’re best at and what works for you just takes time.
E&D: You’ve just done a trippy video for the album track ‘Defiled Again’. How was the experience of making the video and did you want to do something different with this video?
Kyle: That one was shot in our practice space, and it was a good time. We fogged that bitch out, had a bottle of Hennessy, and filmed us faking the song a few times. Matt was kind of the creative director on that one, he wanted to go for a really quickly edited video with some ‘trippy’ effects.
E&D: Your video for the track ‘Head Splattered In Seven Ways’ is insane! How fun was it making that video and was the character in the video inspired by the killer in The Town That Dreaded Sundown?
Kyle: That one was a lot of fun as we filmed it at a local butcher shop called Mccann’s Meats (who are unfortunately closing this fall). The video doesn’t necessarily have to do with what the song is about at all, just a gruesome accompaniment. I’ve not seen The Town That Dreaded Sundown, I’ll have to check it out!
E&D: You’ve also done a brilliantly gory video for the track ‘Rise From The Grave’. How satisfying is it getting the lyrics from your songs essentially made into short films?
Kyle: This one was cool too, probably the most professional video set I’ve been a part of because we had some actors and a special effects artist on set etc. If I recall correctly, the guy who did makeup for Passion of the Christ was the makeup guy, and he said he hated metal hahaha. Again, really doesn’t have too much to do with what the song is about, but it would be hard and costly to make a video of a skeleton war.
E&D: Have you got plans for more from the album? ‘Human Chandelier’ would be so good!
Kyle: Not saying no but also not saying yes. I’d love to film a ‘Human Chandelier’ video, it’s also one of my favorite tracks on the record.4
E&D: Have you also had any idea about adapting the songs from the album into short films or graphic novels?
Kyle: Naw, not really. They aren’t super connected for the most part but I appreciate the enthusiasm about it, haha. I’ve always wanted to commission a short Doom WAD for a song. I think it would be cool to have an interactive thing to do while the song plays. If any WAD makers are reading this, hit me up.
E&D: What are some of your favourite ever death metal music videos?
Kyle: My personal favourite is ‘Rapture’ (Morbid Angel). There’s just something about how fucking insane it is, and mundane at the same time. The sepia tone and the tomb they’re in really makes it look like they unearthed some ancient band who are just rocking the fuck out. Also the scenes where David doesn’t have his bass and is doing some Lovecraftian conducting/summoning/waving his hands around like a goofball is just awesome. Not death metal but I want to shout out the ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ video, it’s truly the most insane video ever shot.
E&D: Did you feel any pressure with this album following your debut album Lesions Of A Different Kind?
Kyle: Fuck yeah, I mean you don’t want to release something that is dog shit and everyone hates, right? You also don’t want to just repeat yourself, which I think we were able to avoid.
E&D: Max Cavalera has recently mentioned Undeath as a band to watch. How did that make the band feel?
Kyle: Really cool! He shouted us out back around the time Lesions came out. I want to say Arthur Rizk is the one who turned him onto us a few years back.
E&D: Has Rochester always had a good music scene throughout the city over the years?
Kyle: It’s a pretty small town but is home to Eastman School of Music which was one of the very first American music schools, established by George Eastman who started Kodak. He would travel to Europe for work around 1890-1910 and would make it a point to see local orchestras. He wanted to ensure America would have a lasting musical legacy so he founded the school. George also may have invented surround sound as he had the world’s first panoramic organ installed in his home. If you or any readers visit Rochester, the Eastman house is very worth visiting, it’s some of my favorite Rochester lore. There are a lot of musicians and bands around Rochester, it’s more of a big scene than any specific genre or whatever. Check out Fullbody 2, Cusp, Hallucination Realized, Deal With God, Sulaco, Mammal is a Mountain, and not from Rochester but check out Marblemouth and Tosser. Half of Mastodon are also from Rochester, and Brann was in a really sick band called Evisceration that released one demo – Fondling The Dead, he was in Lethargy after.
E&D: There’s been some killer hip hop coming out of Rochester recently like RXK Nephew and Eto. Are you fans of that stuff and would you be open to collaborations?
Kyle: Yeah I’m a huge Neph fan, not sure what a collab would even look like, ha. Maybe he’d bring out Slitherman!
E&D: How much of an influence are New York death metal bands like Immolation, Incantation, Suffocation and Mortician to you?
Kyle: I’m a huge Suffo fan, very inspired by Terrance’s creativity and his wide array of influences.
E&D: How excited are Undeath to be part of such an exciting time for death metal alongside the likes of bands such as Necrot, Gatecreeper, Frozen Soul and Sanguisugabogg?
Kyle: It’s a good time.
E&D: What are your all time favourite death metal albums and what makes them so special to you?
Kyle: Just really obvious shit, Covenant, The Bleeding, Severed Survival, Nespithe, Noctambulant, None So Vile, Human, Spheres… tons of different death metal stuff. Basically anything that is sick and doesn’t suck, it’s dope, I can’t just name every album here but I love death metal and really if it’s good death metal, I’d be into it.
E&D: What are the most underrated death metal bands to you?
Kyle: Thats really hard to say. I mean are bands like Funebrarum, Rottrevore, and Mortal Decay underrated? I think they’re kind of purposefully obscure. I will say everyone needs to go listen to Rotted. Shout out Dylan.
E&D: What are your favourite ever horror movies and what makes them so special to you?
Kyle: I’m a huge Phantasm fan, I love most of the Clive Barker films, JC’s The Thing, Reanimator series, All the Cronenburg stuff… if they don’t suck then they’re probably good.
E&D: How did your album release party at The Bug Jar in Rochester go and what were some of the highlights?
Kyle: The show went awesome, we sold the place out and everyone had killer merch with them!
E&D: Internal Bleeding played at the show. Just how good was their performance and how did the rest of the bands in Mutilatred, Afterbirth and Deal With God go down on the night?
Kyle: It was my first time getting to see Internal Bleeding, and the crowd definitely didn’t disappoint. Easily the most violent pit of the night. All the other bands had awesome sets as well, it was my first time getting to see Afterbirth as well, and Will really brought it on vocals.
E&D: You have released your own Cranburied cranberry lager for the album’s release with Nine Maidens Brewing from Rochester. How did that come about and can you tell us about it?
Kyle: I work over at Nine Maidens and we’ve collabed on 2 beers with them before. This one was a lightly fruited lager, dry with some tartness on the smell and some cranberry bitter on the finish – great beer.
E&D: What are some of Undeath’s favourite beers and what albums are best for listening to with them?
Kyle: Rochester’s finest, Genesee Red Eye, baby. Seasonally Genesee Kolsch is the move though, as well as their fall cran-orange kellerbier. Any album you can drink 50 beers to, I’m gonna say Sin After Sin and Uterovaginal Insertion of Extirpated Anomalies though.
E&D: How did your recent US tours with The Acacia Strain, Chained To The Bottom Of The Ocean and Mutilatred go and what were some of the highlights?
Kyle: Great time, those actually were slightly separated tours, but both were awesome. Going on tour with new people is always great especially post-covid because everyone went a long time without meeting anyone new.
E&D: You’re about to hit the road with Dying Fetus, Chelsea Grin, Frozen Soul and Bodysnatcher. Are you looking forward to hitting the road again with those bands?
Kyle: Big time! Leaving tomorrow afternoon, cannot wait.
E&D: What are the rest of your touring plans for the year? Hopefully you’ll make it over to the UK!
Kyle: Not sure if we are going to make it there this year, but definitely next year. We have some more US stuff lined up for summer and fall, so keep an eye out.
E&D: Can you tell us a bit about your live show and do you always try to inject as much fun as possible when you play live?
Kyle: We just get up there and riff out, dog. Our music is pretty physical in that its a ton of 16th note picking and a ton of double bass and a lot of our stuff is above the 210bpm area, so it takes a lot of energy, and I think audiences wanna see some energy on stage, so that they in turn can have a good time and headbang, mosh, stage dive, etc.
E&D: How do you find it best to relax after a show?
Kyle: Carrying all the gear and merch, then trying for an hour to get it all back in. In all seriousness, some beer, whiskey and kush.
E&D: Undeath have got some awesome merchandise including crocs decorations and album cover all over print shorts. Do you always want to stay ahead of the game with some killer merch ideas?
Kyle: We’ve always just tried to make merch we’d wear (and I DO wear our merch haha) and that doesn’t suck. I can’t say we’ve always succeeded but for the most part I like all our stuff. We’re all big croc heads so the croc charms just stem from that.
E&D: What are some of your favourite death metal shirts and merch of all time?
Kyle: I have an original Eaten Back to Life shirt that is just so fucking cool, has a sick b&w graveyard picture on the back. There was also a super sick Gateways To Annihilation tour longsleeve that was advertised on Ebay ads to me like every fucking day, and whoever wanted like $300 for it. Absurdly sick t-shirt though. Thank you for having me and thanks to the readers for checking this out! You can find all our links and music over at undeathmetal.com.