Endseeker – Climbing to the TopTuesday, 6th April 2021
With two albums of full bodied HM2 death metal behind them, Endseeker has made a quick jump up the ladder due to their ability to capture the Swedish sound without being totally bound to it. The melodic side of the band shines as well, giving them some added leverage and enjoyment without losing their brutal edge. Their third album, Mount Carcass, is now set to be released, so we took a few minutes to talk to guitarist Ben Liepelt about the new material, upcoming live stream, and all things death metal.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you say about Mount Carcass as your third full-length? Did you take any ideas from your other releases and try to tweak them a bit?
Ben Liepelt: When we started songwriting, we tried not to overthink things too much. We wanted to just let it happen. But we had spoken beforehand, and we wanted it to be more spontaneous and organic – not as progressive as The Harvest. We wanted something a little more accessible and punkish. Those were our first thoughts. The songwriting was super smooth and fast, and it all fell into place. It was really fun to write this record. I think the results are pretty cool, at least for me [laughs]!
Dead Rhetoric: Did being home for a bit help you to channel some anger into this new album?
Liepelt: Definitely, when it came to the lyrics and frustration/bitterness about cancelled tours and things like that. There was a piece of that there. On the one hand, the anger went into the songs, and the lyrics, but on the other hand, being at home and not being distracted by hanging out or going on tour or all that stuff – we could completely focus on the songwriting. That was something we didn’t experience before. For the previous records, we wrote them between tours and shows, and we always had to be in the condition to go on stage at any time. This time, we didn’t. we didn’t play our live set for almost a year. Now that we are preparing for the record release show, we have to relearn our old songs because they haven’t been playing with them for like a year and concentrating on the new songs.
Dead Rhetoric: Did you feel it was necessary to bring in some more elements outside of the old school Swedish vibes? It seems more noticeable on the new material.
Liepelt: We always tried to evolve a bit, and not repeat ourselves too heavily, and this time we opened up a bit more to other influences than just the Swedish style. There’s more Slayer and more Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, and Gorefest in certain elements and parts. We allowed ourselves to step a bit outside of the box, but we don’t really want to leave the Swedish death metal genre. This is our home. This is where we are going to be – also with the guitar sound, that’s not going to change. But you can spice it up with other influences and make it into more of our own thing. We don’t want to be a ‘copy’ band, even if we worship this special type of death metal.
Dead Rhetoric: While we are still on the topic of the new album, what can you say about the cover of Mount Carcass?
Liepelt: The cover is very different than our previous artwork. On the other records, we had this hand-drawn, rotten skull/skeleton stuff that was very old school and classic death metal. Since we went in more of a different lyrical direction, we wanted that to reflect in the cover artwork. A friend of ours came up with the layout, which was more of a punk/crust Napalm Death kind of style. We loved it right away. There was a little color in it, which was something new for us. It has all these bits and pieces of the songs in it. You can discover parts of the lyrics in the cover artwork, and I totally love that kind of shit. We felt it was interesting and something new for us, again, not to repeat ourselves too much. Just to try something new. I really love the cover artwork and it totally fits the record.
Dead Rhetoric: How important is that crunchy mid-tempo groove when it comes to the music?
Liepelt: Personally, I totally like the mid-tempo death metal kind of thing – the headbangers, the groovers. That’s what I really love. Of course, it has to be mixed up with faster songs, because it’s death metal and you want to bash things up a bit. But with the live shows, the more mid-tempo songs work pretty good. You can see people in the audience headbanging and moving. When you feel the groove, you feel the groove, right?
Dead Rhetoric: Hooks often get overlooked in death metal in favor of bringing more brutality. What role do they play in Endseeker?
Liepelt: They are super important for us. We have always loved the melodic aspect of Swedish death metal. Since the vocals are very similar all the time – it’s part of the genre that there’s not too much variation in the vocals – so if you want to create some strong hooks that are not only rhythm-based, you have to come up with some catchy melodies. I really like that, and it’s what gives me goosebumps – when a part comes to a big conclusive chorus with a good melody that gets stuck in your head for days. It’s super cool when you can achieve that. I don’t know if people feel that with our hooks, but I definitely feel it. It’s a key element. We have always been somewhat melodic, but this record is probably the most melodic one we have done.
Dead Rhetoric: I feel the same, I think it makes a band more memorable. Like you said, there’s not much coming from the vocals because you are in a particular zone, so the melodies add more texture and flavor to what you are doing.
Liepelt: Yeah, and it’s a good way to put some kind of emotional atmosphere into a song. You can have a melody that’s uplifting, depressive, or haunting. You can add so many flavors to a song with how the melodies are structured. With the rhythmic part, it’s about the brutality and the heaviness. The melodies, they bring something different that the rhythm often cannot deliver in that manner.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel is compelling about the Swedish type of death metal?
Liepelt: We absolutely love old school Swedish death metal. Old school Entombed, Dismember, Grave, At the Gates, you name it. It’s untouchable. When it came out back then, it was a total game changer. Then it disappeared for a while, then it has had this crazy comeback. When we started the band, we weren’t aware of the comeback or hype, we just made a band with a style and sound that we always wanted to make. Even back in the ‘90s I wanted to make a band that sounded like Entombed on Wolverine Blues. But I never found the right people to do it; it wasn’t the right time for me. But like six years ago, everything fell into place. All of a sudden, we found ourselves in the middle of this second wave of Swedish death metal. We got washed ashore with it, and it’s definitely part of our identity of our band. As I said before, this is the main part of the band. We will keep the sound identity of that era.
Dead Rhetoric: I think that’s something that differentiates you guys against a number of the bands that were simply coming out of the woodwork in that you say it’s ‘the main thing.’ You aren’t out to just copy the Swedish thing, but using it as a source and adding your own bit to it.
Liepelt: Yeah, that’s cool. If you can hear that, then we have definitely achieved the goal.
Dead Rhetoric: We have talked about the Swedish stuff, but what makes death metal timeless to you?
Liepelt: I think it’s a matter of the age when you get in contact with some music that makes it timeless for you. When I got in touch with Swedish death metal, I was a teenager. It was like ’92 or ’93 and I was like fifteen years old. Music that I discovered at that age had such a major impact on me in terms of my view of the world and my mindset – this music is timeless for me. But I don’t know if it would be the same if I discovered it much later, like in my 30s or something. Maybe it wouldn’t have touched my the way it did. So I don’t know if I can point out specific criteria for something being timeless – it’s very hard. But for me, it’s timeless because it’s part of my youth and teenage years. That was probably the most intense era of my life when it comes to music discovery. Music happens on such an emotional level, and your emotions change a lot over the years. When you listen to music from ‘back then,’ it takes you back to those years and there’s a lot of nostalgia with that. It makes it difficult to be objective on it.
Dead Rhetoric: What are you looking forward to about doing the live stream for the album release, other than the obvious of getting out there and doing something?
Liepelt: For me, personally, I am very curious just to step on the stage again. It’s been more than a year since I’ve been on the stage. As a musician, this is what we want to do. We want to play live, perform on a stage – we need the smell of the people and the beer. Partying with the people and having a good time. We are missing this so badly. We didn’t play any streaming shows last year, so this will be our first. Last year, we were just going to wait until we could play properly, because death metal doesn’t work in an empty club.
On the other hand, we have been there before, playing in empty clubs…who hasn’t? So we refused all offers last year, but now, we are coming out with a new record and we have to play. There’s no way to not go out on stage and play this record. So we decided to do the live show – not just to go play on stage for an hour and that’s it, we wanted to spice it up a bit. We are currently talking with the club right now about how we can spice it up and what we can do to add more interaction with the viewers so that everyone has a cool experience. We want it to be a fun experience for everyone, and get some direct feedback from them. We are talking about different stuff, and hopefully it will turn out well and people have a good time.
Dead Rhetoric: What type of beer would you associate with Endseeker?
Liepelt: The funny thing is that the first thing I think of when I think of Endseeker is Heineken, which is not a German beer. But when we went into the studio for the first album, we decided to drink Heineken all day to worship Jeff Hanneman. He was a big Heineken guy. He was such a great guitar player, so when we drink the same beer in the studio, the record would be good. We kept this tradition for each record. When we go into the studio, we fill up the fridge with shit tons of Heineken and drink all day, so I think this is our band beer, even if it’s not from Germany. There’s good German beers though that you can listen to when you listen to our record.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s planned for 2021 outside of Mount Carcass and the live stream?
Liepelt: There will not be much touring going on this year. With a little luck, we may have a few outdoor, seated shows – who knows? Our booking agency is working on stuff, and we have to see what restrictions are going on. So maybe there will be some shows, but we are focusing on touring next year. We are in the middle of setting up things, and if things turn out the way it looks like right now, then we are going to have some cool tour announcements later this year. I can’t wait to get back on the road. The first live show we have with an audience – I’m going to go totally crazy! It’s going to be insane. Besides that we are going to try to get some more music videos out this year, to stay in touch with the fans and give them things to enjoy and keep ourselves busy.