] Roarezine [ February 2004
// Matthijs vs. Sascha Ehrich
Hi, how are you doing? And how are things with the band at the moment?
Hi Matthijs, thank you, everything is working fine. "Skywards" was released some weeks ago and we are very happy with the debut full length album. Besides, we are currently writing new material for an upcoming album and besides we are looking for possibilities to perform the actual material live. Thus, everything is growing inside the band...
When I first saw the logo of your band it took me quite some time to figure out the name of the band. How did you come up with such a name and what does it stand for?
Certainly, the unreadable design is an expression to which style or musical era we wish to be directed to or connected with. The logotype was created by using classical ancient elements, that is to say letters rich of playful thorns and spikes and the typical thin border around. It was not of high importance that everyone is able to read it by taking a look at it for just one time, I focused the more on its form and spirit. I mean, there are thousands of logotypes based on naked and unchanged letters that nearly everybody is able to copy. The Framents Of Unbecoming are connected to the ancient ones but we are yet different. In addition to that, at that time we had to arrange how the new band should be denominated, we had collected a huge selection of about twenty to thirty names we thought they could fit to our entire concept. Naturally, it was the main topic and of great importance for us to have a very unique or independent phrase and yet unheard name in order to prevent to be premature compared with other bands or musical styles we don´t want to be equalized with. To take a closer look to its signification I´m able to attach that we four members are part of some kind of project or way to sophisticate and reinforce our musical development and its compositions beneath. That is to say we are always directed to this aim, which hopefully every single of us is able to achieve.
Can you tell the readers a bit about the band's history?
In August 2000, Stefan (also guitarist in “VENERAL DISEASE”) and me (at that time also guitarist in “MORTIFIED”) decided to establish some kind of project dedicated to beloved Swedish Death Metal besides our more US-Death Metal orientated bands. I remember that we just rehearsed some dusty melodic riffs and tested song structures in order to finish any kind of song. At that time Ingo (also drummer in “VENERAL DISEASE”) took part in the fragmented band and we started to practice with upgrowing enthusiasm. After some month we replaced our session bass player with Wolle (at that time bassist in “TOMBTHROAT”) and it became more and more obvious to us to embody a stable band. Consistent, I left my band “MORTIFED” because of upcoming musical differences and concentrated more on the new challenge, some time later denominated “FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING”. Thus, in spring 2002 we had created enough songs to enter the studio for the first time to record our debut demonstration silverling called “Bloodred Tales - Chapter I The Crimson Season”, which found its way to Metal Blade who signed us in May 2003 for a number of five albums, exactly one year after the release of our demo.
It's been merely days since 'Skywards' hit the streets, how are the reactions so far? And what are your own expectations?
The entire reactions have been very positive so far. As you can imagine, this is the first time, we are compared with highly recommended and popular acts, thus we could not really be sure, that the judgement will be that positive. Certainly, we are very satisfied with reviews we already got. Especially, the fans and editors that already knew "Bloodred Tales" told us in some kind of uniform voice that we achieved a musically expected progress, which is a driving compliment and enough gratification for past work and investment. Concerning our expectations, I really hope that we can open some gates to a more wide-ranged fan community in 2004. Metal Blade is releasing and publishing the full length album both in Europe and in America. Thus, many people all over the world get the opportunity to know what Fragments Of Unbecoming is all about - Impassioned Swedish Styled Death Metal dedicated to the older and funeral days of Death Metal in whole. We expect to play more concerts and festivals this year to promote "Skywards" as we think the material deserves it to be performed live. In addition to that, we hope that the band can grow with the support of Metal Blade. We´ll see what time will tell. Besides, we are already engaged in writing new material for the next naturally yet untitled album. One of the biggest aims is definitely to continue in keeping our passion and enthusiasm in playing Death Metal. Hope, most of our intensions and plans work out to our satisfaction.
Metal Blade is a well-known label, it must be great to be with such a label while bringing out your second album?
Certainly, it is of vast honor for us to have the chance to work with Metal Blade. In general, the most important thing for us is that we can live our passion in writing music and continue as honest as we stand for. With the support of Metal Blade it certainly should be possible to grow and to reinforce our creations. Hopefully, we will be able to play more live gigs and festivals this year. Especially concerning "Skywards", this is the first time that people nearly all over the world perhaps are confronted with the Fragments Of Unbecoming and what our compositions are all about. This is of huge progress for the band!
You celebrated the release with a release party on January 31st. How was that for you guys? Did you do anything special at the gig?
Actually, it was not overwhelming but very cool indeed. I wouldn´t say that we did something special, perhaps the fact that we played some songs of "Skywards" for the first time. Fortunately, we could book our fellows from Symbiontic for the gig which was again a pleasure for us to be supported by. The crowd was hungry and the guys of Metal Blade attended the concert, too. Thus it was great to play the first concert after some month without any gig because of the recording process. Now, we got hungry again to play more shows in the future!
Will there be a tour supporting the release of your new album?
In any case, we want to play gigs and festivals as much as we are able to in 2004. To mention a big festival we are playing in summer - we are performing this year on Summer Breeze which is a great honor for us! Some gigs and underground festivals are already planned and can be viewed on the homepage (www.fragmentsofunbecoming.com). Concerning touring plans, we do not plan to tour that soonish as every single of us is working the whole week, the whole month, the whole year...thus, it is not that easy to jump on a tour. Perhaps, it will be possible to support some tour gigs in Germany - we will see what time will tell.
Before 'Skywards' you recorded only one album, 'Bloodred Tales'. What are the main differences between the two albums?
Basically, the two releases are not that different at all, namely because “Skywards” can be described as a direct continuation from that point “Bloodred Tales” ended in 2002. Concentrating on stylistic elements we changed nearly nothing. A very important aspect for my personal part is the replacement of instrumental e-guitar parts on “Bloodred Tales” with the use of acoustic guitars to enrich or reinforce the natural sound and atmosphere on “Skywards” - it offers a deeper kind of charm. I can proudly admit that we in a way achieved it to sound like bands that released their albums about ten years ago. Some might call this anachronism but in our view nothing is overproduced or sounds like millions of bands nowadays. “Skywards” sounds professional but unique. Musically, we followed the path we yet went on “Bloodred Tales”, although we developed our skill and ability to write impassioned songs. It is of great importance for us, that everybody who listens to “Skywards” recognizes that this can only be a FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING-album. Concerning the songs itself, we can say that they again offer the listener a wide-ranged variation of different stylistic elements: One is more melodic, full of harmony and mid-tempo based, another one right beside is blasting without compromise, rich of aggression and brutality. We tried to create a constant equilibrium within the whole album, that is to say that there is a certain kind of red line, but no one is probably able to get it by hearing the album for one single time. It is important to listen to “Skywards” several times again and again to see differences and connections to dive into melodies and disharmonies. Certainly, there are many catchy riffs and melodies but in any case it is not a hit-album!
What are the main influences of Fragments Of Unbecoming as your are being placed in the Swedish Death genre?
The reason why we decided to form FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING certainly was a passion for the older Swedish Death Metal bands around 1994/1995. Honestly, I can admit that my first contact with Death Metal was “EDGE OF SANITY´s” “The Sprectral Sorrows”, an album which can be viewed as genius and unique that it still influences me nowadays, although it is perhaps impossible to hear that within our songs. It obviously seems that especially Stefan and me are very attracted by downtuned guitars, twin-melodies and harsh vocals, magnificant studio sounds like e.g. Sunlight, Fredman, Unisound and, in short, this unique style in Death Metal filled with contraries like aggression and calmness, harmony and disharmony, deathlike melancholy and liveliness fulfilled with unforgettable acoustic interludes. Although we refuse to be always announced as followers of Swedish cult acts, we are certainly influenced here and there by bands like AT THE GATES, UNANIMATED, DISSECTION, CARCASS, SACRILEGE etc.
In addition to that, we are also partially influenced by great US Death Metal Bands like HATE ETERNAL or MALEVOLENT CREATION, because of Ingo is only listening to American high speed stuff.
What do you think of today's death metal scene?
Especially concerning the Swedish scene, entirely, the change of the spirits in Swedish Death Metal, in short from old-school to modern or the new wave of Swedish death metal, was one part of the reasons why I planned to establish Fragments Of Unbecoming. I really missed this old-school sound and the roughness of ancient recordings. Sometimes, while listening to the dusty vinyl of Carnage, Entombed, Dismember, Carcass I get some kind of impression that these older albums are entirely free from pressure and based on merely impassioned song writing that had not to care about selling accounts. The productions had spirit and expressed a huge space for breath. Concerning actual releases, they are not really boring at all - there are some magnificent bands like e.g. Eternal Lies, Kaamos, Unmoored, etc. but in general, I prefer the older ones. Nowadays, some outputs sound exaggerated modern and synthetic both from new and old bands. Certainly, there is an irresistable progress in modern recording techniques, but! especially considering Death Metal there´s not a shadow of a doubt that older techniques carry the more spirit. But, on the other side of the horizon, to mention some great actual bands: Decapitated, Invocator, Aborted, Exhumed and many more.
Fragments of Unbecoming and the plans for the future?
To long-term we are already working on new songs for another album we hope to record them in spring 2005. In general, the most important thing for us is that we can live our passion in writing music and continue as honest as we stand for. With the support of Metal Blade it certainly should be possible to grow and to reinforce our creations. Hopefully, everything works out fine.
Thanks for the interview. I wish you the best of luck in the future. Is there anything you would like to add?
I´ll wish to thank you for the opportunity to present my band in "Roarezine". For the future, we wish you all the best and success for Roarezine. Take Care…..