Dawn of Disease – Ascending from the GraveFriday, 18th August 2017
The guys of German death metal act Dawn of Disease have been on a fiery kick as of late. Last year they came zipping in with their third effort, Worship the Grave, on their new label Napalm Records. With a new level of exposure and some positive buzz thrown about for their old-school reverence without being stuck in the past, what’s a band to do? The answer of course, is to ride the high and come out guns blazing once more and stoke the flame while it’s still burning bright.
Ascension Gate serves as the band’s strongest material yet. Moving ever so gently from their old-school ways, and incorporating some rather enjoyable melodies into a still buzzing death metal framework. Something that both the gritty death metal fans and melodeath lovers can both agree on. Good meat & potatoes kind of stuff, but with a little extra melodic kick to whet the appetite some more. Curious as to the band’s methods, we fired off some questions to guitarist Lukas Kerk to learn more about the band’s productivity, music video, and thoughts on both Swedish and German death metal.
Dead Rhetoric: It’s only been about a year since Worship the Grave was released. Were you feeling particularly creative as a whole?
Lukas Kerk: Haha, yeah one might paraphrase it like this. We got so much positive feedback on Worship the Grave, spurring us to work on new material and release a new album within a relatively short span of time.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel that you’ve done differently this time around for Ascension Gate, compared with your other albums?
Kerk: Compared with our other albums, Ascension Gate has more elaborated melodies. This time we focused on creating even more catchy songs than before but without neglecting a huge portion of blastbeating brutality. Some might say it is a bit more “mainstream” in comparison to what we did before but it is simply the result of musical development process. Although there are more melodies you can still find the typical Dawn of Disease elements.
Dead Rhetoric: You released your first music video, “Akephalos,” last month. What did you want to try to get across with the video?
Kerk: The first song we released from the album as an audio track was “Perimortal” which is rather mid-tempo and melodic. With “Akephalos” we wanted to show that there are also more aggressive and bludgeoning songs and that we cover a huge (death metal) spectrum on the album. The video itself embodies a dark and gloomy atmosphere also relating to the lyrics which are about the “Akephalos”, a headless revenant, demon or god, which is conjured in an obscure ceremony.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you say of the cover art for Ascension Gate? The coloring scheme is particularly striking.
Kerk: The artwork was done by Marc Cooper, with whom we also worked for our last album. We like his style and again he created something great. We really like the colors as they are a bit different from the “normal” death metal artworks and although it is quite purple-ish it is not too cheesy, haha.
Dead Rhetoric: You recently performed at Wacken this summer. How has festival season been so far?
Kerk: The festival season has been overwhelming so far! We started in July with Rockharz Open Air, then Wacken followed and we just returned from Party.San and Metal On The Hill. At all festivals we had a great time and there were so many people attending our show! We hope that this will be the same case during the following festivals.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you find appealing about the Swedish death metal movement?
Kerk: I think most appealing is the fact that there are so many great bands who have emerged and are still emerging from this scene. All of us like to listen to the good old “heroes” like Entombed or At The Gates and we are also big fans of Hypocrisy, Vomitory, Amon Amarth, Insomnium and so on. Swedish death metal has a very special character and we like to employ certain elements of it in our songs.
Dead Rhetoric: Melodic death metal, over more recent years, become a bit of a dirty word. What do you feel the best way to incorporate it into your sound is?
Kerk: We understand melodic death metal as a concept that describes death metal music enhanced with melodies. I also think that this term is often used too inflationary without really focusing on the subject related to. In the case of our sound the term “melodic” simply means that there is a noticeable portion of melodies characterizing our songs.
Dead Rhetoric: Obviously there’s a Swedish influence on the band, but do you have any German influences as well?
Kerk: Of course we have! Bands like Kreator or Sodom are influencing our music as well. Unfortunately there are not that many death metal bands one might relate to but we are all fans of the typical German thrash metal.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s your take on the death metal scene in Germany?
Kerk: At the moment the death metal scene in Germany is growing and growing which is quite a positives development but also has some disadvantages. As there are so many bands releasing new albums there is a huge danger – especially for ‘smaller’ bands – to get lost in the flood of monthly releases. On the other hand it is good to see that there is a growing number of concerts and that people seem to be interested into the music. I am really excited to see how all this will develop during the last years!
Dead Rhetoric: With the momentum that the band has had in the last few years, do you see yourselves jumping right back into writing mode once more after the album has released?
Kerk: At the moment we are not planning to start songwriting directly. We try to concentrate on the following shows. But of course we can not exclude that we already have some riffs for the next album written.
Dead Rhetoric: What does Dawn of Disease have planned for the rest of 2017?
Kerk: For the rest of 2017 we will celebrate the release of Ascension Gate by playing the remaining open air festival shows, then there will be some club shows following in fall and winter. This is our plan at the moment. Maybe we also find the time to work on the first one or two new songs!