COVER ARTWORK by MAX JEFFRIES
This Friday, metal/rock outfit Underking – comprising of Max Jeffries and Dustin Burmeister – will be unveiling ‘Ghosts Of The Past‘, one of two debut albums, and Max has, in detail, described every one of its seven tracks to us:
When I wrote ‘Hexed‘, it was always intended to be the catchy single song. It started with the main riff that kicks off the song, which I thought sounded really unique, and the rest of the song just flowed from there. really.
The chorus was always intended to be the main force of the song, and I spent a lot of time on the harmonies and layering to make it as memorable as I could.
The solo also fed into this kind of thinking as well, keeping it simple and melodic, rather than shredding or overplaying – I just wanted it to serve as an extension to the chorus and get stuck in people’s heads.
As soon as I was selecting the running order for ‘Ghosts Of The Past‘ – I knew this had to be first!
The self-titled track originally started as a track called ‘Goblin King‘, and was intended as a song that I was going to pitch for Rage Cave. It has that nice, bouncy groove that forms the basis of the song, and I built it outwards from that.
I knew as soon as the song started to form that the lyrics had to have that playful, tongue-in-cheek energy – but still delivered in a serious way, so the lyrics formed around this idea of a goblin king. It turned into a really fun track in my opinion, and has one of the best riffs on the album.
This track started as an instrumental song, but as I began to write lyrics for the project, I realised that it needed some lyrics to fill out the track, and soon they started flowing out.
They aren’t many lyrics in the song, but they ended up being some of my most personal, just dealing with some issues of feeling isolated – perhaps apt in the current situation – and, as a lead-in to the next track, I decided to insert a lyrical nod with the title.
As the first single from the album, I wanted this one to pack a punch, so the simple drum intro to the Black Sabbath-inspired riff seemed like a great way to kick off people’s Underking experience.
I focused a lot on the lyrics of this one with Adam Buckley, and the song turned into a religious-themed track – something I find myself writing about quite a bit. It’s about the duality of faith, and how it can cripple some people into doing things simply on the promise of heaven and hell – without actually stopping to think about the morality of their actions in a meaningful way.
The switch-up in the middle is one of my favourite moments on the project as it enters that thrash realm that so many of the Underking songs are inspired by.
Whilst only an instrumental song, it still holds a lot of meaning for me. It was written in the wake of the anniversary of the death of a family member, and for me, is dedicated to them.
I decided to pick the title of ‘Chasing Ghosts‘, as it reflects that kind of feeling – wanting someone back who you know you can never see again.
‘TO MY DEATH’
Again, this one started out with the main riff that has that groovy quality inspired by the kind of riffs in some of my favourite bands, Periphery and Delusions Of Grandeur, whilst still keeping the genre rooted firmly in that classic heavy metal-type feel.
The verses go into a bit of thrash, and I think the chorus is quite unique, as the vocals and their harmonies drive the section without much help from the guitars – it’s definitely the song I’m vocally proud of.
Also, containing the origin of the album title, the lyrics focus on the futility of sending people to war and this top-down approach to soldiers, with their superiors using them as expendable weapons for reasons that are sometimes unbeknownst to the people actually fighting.
The closing track of the album, and the longest to be released on either Underking album. This song began as an experiment with synths and orchestral elements that make up the first moments of the song.
I wanted the song to, again, give off those Black Sabbath vibes with a modern twist. The opening harmonised riff is one of the most doom-influenced on either album, and the lyrics focus around the British witch trials, which was a subject I was really interested in at the time of writing. I also knew that I wanted to close the album with a solo, as ‘Amongst The Dead‘ opens with a solo, creating that parallel between the two records.
Overall, I think the album’s themes kind of permeate through death and darkness, but in an accessible way, it’s not so dark that people would turn it off because they thought too deeply about the lyrics. In this instance, I took influence from Ghost, making these topics a big lighter musically perhaps than they would first appear.
‘GHOSTS OF THE PAST’, ALONG WITH ‘AMONGST THE DEAD’, WILL BE RELEASED ON APRIL 3, AND YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE INFO ON THIS – AND UNDERKING – BY CHECKING OUT OUR INTERVIEW WITH THEM HERE.