- Sarah Stubbs
German wrecking crew Deserted Fear talk spontaneous writing, realising ambitions and killer riffs
In a chaotic modern world where mindless, manufactured trends and coldly impersonal electronic exchanges all too frequently form a pitifully inferior substitute for genuine human connection and creativity, German death metal crew Deserted Fear are one of an exceptionally rare and inspiring breed of bands. A band whose every crushing, sinewy groove and raggedly energised spiral of tremolo audibly crackles with seamlessly instinctive chemistry. Bassist and co-founder Fabian Hildebrandt reveals how this finely-honed machine of an extreme metal band first came to be.
“Myself and our singer actually live next door to each other. We literally have no other neighbours and it’s right beside the cemetery and forest,” enthuses Deserted Fear’s Fabian Hildebrandt on his enviably scenic current living situation with co-founder and best friend Manuel ‘Mahne’ Glatter. Indeed, from the far-flung location of Hildebrandt’s idyllic woodland lodgings to the conveniently close proximity of his fellow band members, every detail about this exceptionally tight-knit collective reads like a rock ’n’ roll biographer’s dream narrative. But with their electrifying blend of expansively muscular groove, raggedly visceral textures and nimbly melodic lashings of fretwork, it’s the German trio’s exhilarating trademark sound that makes clear this is a band in the most refreshingly real and authentic sense of the word. And like many a fine and firmly established musical unit, the origins of Deserted Fear lie in altogether more humble early beginnings.
“Around fifteen years ago I when I was still at school I formed my first band, and we played nu-metal stuff like Papa Roach and The Offspring and it was so fucking bad,” the bass player laughs. “So anyway, we quit the band and after that Mahne and me focused mainly on driving motorcycles and breaking our bones and stuff. Then we started listening to death metal and we met Simon [Mengs] our drummer who was just nine years old at the time. His brother went to school with us and yeah, we started Deserted Fear just for fun. We never had plans to go on tour or sign with a major label like Century Media. We just wanted to record our music and send it out and see what happens and now we’re about to release our fourth album. It’s pretty crazy.”
Having spent the subsequent decade that followed relentlessly honing their violently energised craft to a razor-keen pinnacle of blistering technical perfection, the trio were quick to establish an impressively sizeable following from the earliest outset of their fledgling career. Titled simply ‘Demo 2010’, the raw talent abundantly apparent in this humbly produced offering sparked an instant sensation among underground death metal fans across the continent. A mere two years later and blistering follow-up ‘My Empire’ would see the Germans’ fast-rising profile skyrocket still further, with engineering legend Dan Swanö handling production duties on this critically-admired debut. With the three-piece’s musical progression over their next two successive records having been dramatically accelerated through extensive touring alongside such legendary names as Morbid Angel and Overkill, theirs is a deliciously vicious sound that palpably bristles with the scalding heat and immediacy of the moment.
“We learn with each record, each show we play, how to play together and what works, but when we write music we just grab the guitar and see what happens. It all comes together very naturally,” Fabian observes of this fluidly organic and spontaneous chemistry. “Before we started writing the new album we’d been through a three-week tour of Europe; it was a great experience and I think you can hear it on the record. We actually started pretty late writing this latest record, whereas before we’d always have about two or three demos already done, and in January 2018 right after our tour we just got straight into the process. We never like to set ourselves any kind of deadline though. We like to write without any form of pressure which is key, and this time around we went so fast, we had a great flow. And of course our singer recently became a daddy two years ago, so now you have to make dates for songwriting, but we always manage to find new riffs. And in summer when we were done with all the demos so we said, okay, let’s record!”.
But however joyously spontaneous and organic the songwriting process for Deserted Fear’s most recent studio offering may have proved to be, the record’s lyrical content entailed a dramatically more carefully considered and premeditated approach. Featuring an eerie, pitch-black skeletal figure being forcibly dragged deep into an inky mire of liquid filth, there’s no mistaking the very real and frighteningly relevant horrors that inspired the ominously-titled ‘Drowned By Humanity’. Fabian elaborates, “We have lyrics about pollution on the new record and, like I said, our singer became a father recently and he started thinking about not just what’s happening now but in 20, 40 or 60 years’ time with your children, and all the bad things in our society and how humanity treats nature. We also began thinking about how, if you are a band and capable of reaching people you should use that power in order to effect positive change wherever it’s possible to do so.”
And with a major nationwide tour just around the corner, the Germans can rest assured that their dark and intelligently thought-provoking craft will soon be reaching and rapidly converting many more enthusiastic fans and followers in the coming months. Here’s to Germany’s finest new extreme metal export!
'Drowned by Humanity' is out now on Century Media
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