UNFRAGMENT is a cool french death metal band I've discovered few months ago thanks to their first album. I like some of their tracks that has some dark touches of old school death metal bands such has Morgoth or old Deicide. As I had some spare time, I thought about a bunch of questions, and here you are to read this informative interview.
Introduce UNFRAGMENT to our readers. The band isnít much known in the underground even if you have released several recordings.
JťrŰme: We are a new band since we were formed 3 years ago, our first album was released almost one year ago and the second one is in the work with a new line up. Fabien Bartaud does all the guitar parts, Antonia Michot has joined the band and takes car of the bass parts, and I take care of the vocals as well as the realization. We actually need a drummer and a second guitarist to be able to play more gigs.
Did you play in other bands before Unfragment ? If so is it necessary to quote them?
Remains in which I was playing with Florent Bartaud (he did our
cover artwork, heís Fabienís brother) and Walter Birot, the current
vocalist of Devil host. We did a demo entitled ę Mistress of evil
Ľ in 1996. Apart from this, each musician of the band was a part
of some projects, but nothing concrete was released before Unfragment.
Listening to your album, I felt some influences of MORBID ANGEL (old), DEICIDE (old) but also DEATH, MORGOTH. What are your motivations to play a so old school Death metal? What other influences would you add to the list?
Itís true I like a lot the Tampa scene, as well as a bunch of other old Thrash metal or Death metal bands, might they be European or American. Depending on the members of the band, our influences vary from epic black metal to brutal death metal, but we donít focus before all what our music must sound like, it only has to be death metal. The old school side isnít really volunteer, it comes from our way of apprehend the composition as well as our riffs that certainly bring a musical color thatís near of a given musical epoch.
You have some riffs and guitar melodies reminding me of the very first MORGOTH recordings, itís very rare nowadays! Most of nowadays old school Death metal bands are influences by DEATH, POSSESSED, MORBID ANGELÖ but some elements and moods are never to be found again, as if it was forgotten and eternally engraved in the pastÖ what do you think of it? Is there an archivist or exhumer of death metal side in UNFRAGMENT ?
I agree with you; I think technology has actually developed the quality of the sound but the expression suffers from this, I have never listened to an album that would be as violent as ę Enjoy the violence Ľ, as dark as ę Altars of madness Ľ, or as dynamic as a ę Leprozy Ľ or ę Seven churches Ľ. Anyway, the beginnings of a style offers the listener some innovating bands while everything has to be done, the beginnings offer some cult albums, and nowadays the creative side in extreme metal is limited. In this case, arenít a lot of bands tending to the over abuse of technicality and a big sound.
For the archivist side I answer: No, or we would only do some cover tracks. Exhumer, maybe, as we assume our influences, we doesnít force the way the compositions will come up, if one reminds of a given bands itís not really a problem since it wasnít wanted at the beginning.
Your vocals are obscure and can sound impious/ sulfurous, thatís is quite different from a lot of typically Brutal death metal like vocals that are gore or brutal. Is it a choice?
Yes and no;
yes because I like the lyrics to be well placed, I rather have in
mind a song than a track, and I donít like a vocalist to have only
a rhythmical approach, one must feel there are lyrics And it tells
Your vocals remind me the ones of the Swiss band AMON who released an album entitled ę Shemhamforash Ľ in 1995 . Do you know this band? The goal of the vocals was maybe to sound like the beginnings of DEICIDE (and especially their first demo!) ?
I donít know AMON, and I have never found much common points with DEICIDEís vocals, I have mostly listened to their first album and itís in my opinion one of the best in the style, but Iím not trying to copy Glen Benton. It seems he did excellent vocal patterns on the last VITAL REMAINS album. If there was a guyís vocals I would admire, it would be David Vincent, but honestly, I try to work on the personality of my vocals without trying to copy anybody.
For some of your lyrics, you use some Demons names such as "Atziluh" or "Yetzirah". It reminds me the guitarist of MERCYLESS(Fra) who said, at the time of their first albums, to be inspired by a demon who came during his sleep to give him lyrics. The demon promised him the success for his band if he used these lyrics.
It seems one canít trust a demon, no, seriously speaking the names you quoted are the ones of places beyond our terrestrial world. The lyrics are inspired from some esoteric readings and from my way of seeing the world of the death.
Introduce the several entities who exist in the lyrics and in the universe of UNFRAGMENT! I never heard their names. Are they your own creations, or are they taken from a work similar to the one of Lovecraft?
I never read the books of Lovecraft. Some lyrics describe the levels of evolution that constitute the tree of Sephiroth and the names come from the Kabbal, but the same schemes can be found in several esoteric sciences under other names. The lyrics of Unfragment has a very human and pictured approach of death, in parallel to the mysteries of the infinite, in this subject the lack of elements is sometimes frustrating to be able to convince yourself of a truth. Only remain the instinct, curiosity, reflection and good sense to find some ways to accept the fact a ę truth Ľ as important as death wonít reveal while youíre alive.
What does the name UNFRAGMENT means? If one takes it to the literal sense, it could make think about a Grindcore band (Disjoncted, shreddedÖ) while the way it sounds would make me think about a metalcore band, or so-called Ďmoderní metal.
Itís certain if you see it in the French translation, it hasnít the same consonance anymore, even if the meaning remains the same. To Un Fragment means to gather the pieces to make an unity, The name of the band has an underlying idea and this one is positive, I think itís good.
The cover of your album shows some kind of formless and sludgy meanders evoking melancholy and an obscure brainstorm (The head in the ass!). What does this cover represents, what sense does it take for you and who did it?
Florent Bartaud did the cover, we have used a part of one paintings of his, even if he didnít paint it for us at the beginning. In this case, the hazard or destiny has done itís job right. The cover show an undefined place you describe rather well, and if one looks at the cover for a moment, he will see all kinds of daces. I think it shows well where the human is, his intelligence makes him loose the conscience of his own ignorance, so he wanders and suffersÖ
In your opinion, what lacks nowadays Death metal?
Do you feel concerned by the waves of hyper technical, hyper brutal and compex Death metal?
Yes, because there are some good albums, I think in particular about Hater eternal, and weíre certainly a bit influenced by these waves.
Which more or less actual albums did attract your attention recently? Which albums do you regularly listen to? Which albums are you unable to listen to anymore as you know them too much?
Immolation is certainly the band who has the most kicked my ass recently, apart from them I listen to few things because of a lack of time, because listening to metal while your children are making noise, itís rather stressing. I spend most of my free time for Unfragment, and Fabien regularly makes me listen to some new albums, or I play some good old classics such as the First MORBID ANGEL albums for example.
The first (and only I think) album of Kvist is a bit old, but itís certainly my fave Black metal album. In the ę I donít want it anymore Ľ folder, Iíd put Metallica because I have a so bad image of them I canít enjoy their first albums anymore, even if itís excellent. Apart from this, the album I know a lot are those I still listen to nowadays, most of it are in the Death metal style.
Is the obscure mood of Death metal always present during your gigs?
I couldnít be very objective for this question because I havenít got enough objectivity on what our music expresses, I only know during the few live sets we did, we perspired a lot and we were happy.
As you play an obscure kind of Death metal, I think you must see some obscure things during the bandís rehearsals. Such as some flashes or vortexes of negative energy. If thatís the case, does this kind of phenomenon occures more during the rehearsals (or when few peoples are there) or during gigs ?
Firs of all, even if our music is obscure in its form, it isnít in the depths, same for the lyrics. Through our music, we express some energy and during the rehearsals, some new tracks that takes its place have a exhilarating effect, itís the same during gigs when the crowd gets in our music. Then, to deal with death doesnít open the doors to the spectacular or fantastic, we are the same than any rock group: humans.
Which physical, emotional or spiritual factors starts the inspiration in your opinion? I have noticed the same factor can have drastically opposite consequences; and when one wants to reproduce a situation that was once good for a genius idea, the result was only average, few personal or ę castrated ĽÖ
Speaking for myself, I work a lot with emotion and itís true one canít force the things; maybe it works for those who need a physical factor that comes from certain ĎsmokesíÖ The night is very positive for creativity, certainly because one feels more alone, in front of himself and his emotions. I have some long periods during which nothing is coming, then I donít search for the inspiration and I let the time flow. And one day, without any reason, a bunch of ideas Ďflowsí through my head. Fabien is composing whenever he wants to, he is very productive and if he decides to compose a track a given night, you can be almost sure a rough track will be on its way the following day.
How many interviews did you answer until now? Isnít it too hard to promote a real album by yourself, without any label to help?
Itís not hard since we doesnít focus on too big plans, we did less than a dozen of interviews, there were hopefully really more reviews, but we let the time make the thing. We prefer to get peoples interested in our music a little by little. We havenít got the pressure of anybody, and to do it by yourself taught you some things. Now itís true a label gives some strength your promotions and gives the medias more motives to talk about your music.
Your album was recorded, mixed and produced in July 2002, the tracks are more than one year! Are your new tracks in the same vein? Are they near of the first tracks of the album (my fave ones with nį8 and nį10)?
The new album will be much richer in moods than the first one, one will find back the epic melodies of Fabien and his new riffs are more shredding and efficient. The production will be really better, Antonioís bass playing richer than mine, and there will be at least two lyrics sung in French including one that should surprise metal heads. ę Dark hours Ľ is a very black metal like track, ę Necrophages Ľ is more brutal death, ę Inflamed way Ľ reminds of Terrorizer, and many tracks are in the pure Fabien style, like ę My brother Ľ, ę Alesia ĽÖ We have worked back ę Sentenced to death Ľ that dates back to the first demo and weíll also record ę Assiah Ľ that were one the second one. Finally, I think the album increases the personality of Unfragment while it shows a larger scale of influences.
What are your future projects? Did you have some correct offerings from labels? Have you got something special to announce? Itís you to conclude this interview!
The future projects, are mainly the release of the album in 2004; I ignore what the following will be but it will be Death metal, without any doubt! In fact many things depend on the evolution of the line up. Apart from this, I invite the readers to visit our website that should be online in the following days, and thank you for the space in your webzine.