Deus Ex Machina
CoC chats with Marten Hansen of This Ending
by: Jackie Smit
If we here at CoC Central had £100 for every melodic death metal promo we received in 2006, we'd probably all have entered retirement by now. Sadly utilising the same equation for genre records that proved compelling beyond the first listen would deliver significantly less profitable results, which makes a find like This Ending's Metal Blade debut, _Inside the Machine_, that much more auspicious. A burly monster of an album, and a far cry from the slower and more atmospheric grind of their prior incarnation A Canorous Quintet, This Ending's members may boast a pedigree that provides some indication of the quality one could rightfully expect from them, but it nevertheless takes nothing away from the fact that their first stab at a full-length is very impressive indeed. Vocalist Marten Hansen was happy to tell us more.

Marten Hansen: We went into Offbeat Studio for this record, which is where we recorded our demo [_Let the World Burn_, recorded as The Plague], which also got us our deal. The studio is also partly owned by one of our guitar players, Linus Nirbrant, and he records and produces bands there, so it seemed like a good idea for us to do our debut album in familiar surroundings. Initially we were planning on making it a fairly quick process, but it ended up taking about four weeks instead, and that was basically just us being perfectionists. We didn't want anything not to sound exactly the way we wanted it to, and when we listened to the material at the end of the initial sessions we realised that we'd need to re-record a few of the parts.

CoC: Having only had one demo prior to this, what was your vision for how you wanted your debut to turn out?

MH: Well, we wrote about eighteen songs and selected ten of those -- the ones we felt stood out on their own. We didn't want to have anything on there that we would feel in hindsight we may have wanted to leave off the album, which I think is something you quite often find on a lot of records. So we gave it as much time as it needed, wrote enough songs to choose from, and everything fell into place from there.

CoC: Did the lure of an advance from the label never tempt you to use an established producer and a big name studio?

MH: <laughs> No, I think it's more interesting to be able to create your own sound, and I don't think that you get to do that when you go to another studio -- at least not in the same way. If we had gone to another studio, I think we'd probably have taken at least two months to get the record sounding as good as it does now, and none of us had the time for that. Besides, we're also our own biggest critics and we can be pretty rough.

CoC: You've obviously had a lot of experience of working together and in different groups, but how did you find recording your first full-length together as This Ending?

MH: We didn't really have many problems. We're always very honest with each other, and we can all accept criticism, and as long as that stays the same, then I can't see how we ever wouldn't get along. We all want to make the music sound better, and we're also all long-time friends, so that helps too.

CoC: Was the decision to sign with Metal Blade a natural choice given Frederik Andersson's [drums] association with them through Amon Amarth?

MH: Well, we think that Metal Blade is a great label and there's a lot of history with a lot of great bands there. Besides that, Frederik also knows a lot of guys there through his dealings being in Amon Amarth as you said, and he actually wanted Metal Blade to be the first label to hear our demo, so we only ended up sending it to them. The reaction was fantastic -- they contacted us on the same day that they got the demo.

CoC: Did that sort of enthusiastic response take you by surprise?

MH: Absolutely, because I wasn't sure whether a bigger label would be interested in us at all. There's a lot of competition out there, and even though I think that we have a lot of things that separate us from many bands, you're never guaranteed that someone at a label will share those views.

CoC: With a response like that, did it put any pressure on your shoulders to deliver the goods when the time came to actually do a full-length record?

MH: I'm not sure. We didn't really feel like we had an obligation to Metal Blade; more like we owed it to ourselves to make the best record that we possibly could and certainly top what we had done on the demo. Thankfully we have a lot of creative musicians in this band, and when we put all of that together, it comes out in a very good way.

CoC: So, how are writing duties handled in the band at this stage?

MH: Well, Linus is our main songwriter, and he has a lot of experience of helping other bands find their own sound, so he's very well positioned to be that. At the same time, we all contribute, so it is a band effort.

CoC: With so many melodic death metal bands doing the rounds, as you mentioned earlier, what do you feel This Ending bring to the table that makes them different from everyone else?

MH: I think that for one you can hear that this is played from the heart and that this music is something that we really love. I also think that even though our songs are pretty fast, they're still groovy, which is something that is quite unusual in the death metal genre. So I think that in essence what differentiates us is that we really think through every part of every song when we're writing.

CoC: With _Inside the Machine_ on the shelves now, what are the plans for This Ending in the coming months?

MH: We're going to definitely try and go on tour as soon as possible, although we'll have to try and find a package that works with our time schedules. So we're hoping to go out in Europe and maybe go out in the States when the album is released there in January. Hopefully we will also be doing a couple of festivals this summer.

CoC: So, to round out this interview, I think it's only fitting seeing as how this is your first album as This Ending and I'm almost sure we'll be catching up again in a couple of years' time, to ask you which band you'd love to see This Ending tour with most?

MH: I have to say, I think Slayer will suit us very well.

CoC: And as far as what you'd want to see This Ending achieve in the next couple of years?

MH: I'd love to be one of those bands who are fortunate enough to live off their music so that we don't have to work and we can be out on the road much more and be playing more live shows.

(article submitted 5/1/2007)

3/15/2009 J Smit 5 This Ending - Dead Harvest
12/26/2006 J Smit 8 This Ending - Inside the Machine
3/22/2006 P Azevedo 4 The Plague - Let the World Burn
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