FABIAN HILDEBRANDT of Deserted Fear Discusses the Band’s Newest Studio LP and Their Evolutionary Journey from a Rugged Old School Death Metal Sound to a More Atmospheric and Melodic Approach: “We Understand Our Instruments Better and Have Learned Much From Our Experience in and Outside the Studio.”

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Many names have come and gone in the European death metal scene over the years, but Deserted Fear is one that has had some clear staying power. Hailing from Eisenberg, Germany and riding a consistent wave of studio output since the early 2010s, they’ve ascended an impressive evolutionary ladder from a rustic old school style after the mold of Bolt Thrower and Unleashed to a denser, melodic shade of modernity that rivals the likes of Kataklysm and Hypocrisy. This rise to greater prominence has been mirrored on the road with a series of recent tours that saw this trio alongside the likes of Obituary, Morbid Angel, At The Gates and Insomnium, an eventuality that no doubt impacted the band’s subsequent songwriting and studio ventures that the 2010s gave way to the current decade.

Though most artists would tend to agree that a band’s latest album tends to be regarded as their best, there is a truth to the notion that Deserted Fear’s sound has reached a new height with the recent release of 2022’s “Doomsday,” their 5th studio LP. Lead guitarist, songwriter and producer Fabian Hildebrandt himself is quick to note that he and his band mates are constantly learning, growing and thus improving their craft, culminating in a refined sound that is more nuanced in character, but also accessible to a greater audience. The lyrical direction of the band has also taken a more subtle approach, making occasions to recall the fundamental subjects of war and death that typify a traditional approach, but projecting it into a broader reflection of mankind’s self-destructive nature with balanced mixture of anger and melancholy.

In every respect, “Doomsday” is a reaffirmation of the aggressive, heavy-ended, take-no-prisoners approach to death metal that the style calls for, but is draped in a denser arrangement that recalls the middle ground that Amon Amarth’s early albums stood upon between the raunchier early 90s old school sound and the emerging Gothenburg movement. Likewise, the band’s ongoing penchant for atmospheric instrumental preludes and interludes to establish a storybook character to their albums has come to embody a reserved, somber character combined with a level of symphonic bombast typical to the film score work of Hans Zimmer, blending seamlessly with the band’s colossal collage of guitars, bass, drums and guttural shouts. The end result is an album that flows like a semi-conceptual undertaking, tied together by a common theme of futility and a consistent stream of pristine melodies above a foundation of mercilessly heavy riffing.

Despite the deep and grave character of the music that Fabian deals in, offstage his persona is that of a good-humored guy who enjoys nature, beer and basketball. Sonic Perspectives associate Jonathan Smith caught up with him earlier to discuss a wide range of subjects connected either directly or tangentially to the lead up and creation of their latest evolutionary step, veering off into occasional asides reflecting the serious character of the music, but also taking plenty of time to cheerily exchange information on studio equipment, the elite bands of the 90s and a wide array of other topics.

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