“When we started out, we just wanted to be the heaviest band in town. Now, we want to be the heaviest band in South Wales,” exclaims Upon Those Dying vocalist Kage Sheppard. Heftier than a dragon’s left bollock and carnivorously brutal, no one wants to champion the Southern Welsh scene more than this Cardiff five-piece – after all, they have to live up to the likes of scene heavyweights such as Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral For A Friend or, fuck it, even Budgie!
“South Wales has a rich heritage,” says bassist James Hardiman. “There’s a lot of prestige that we’re all trying to uphold. Everybody here has that drive to work harder, because there’re no handouts. You have to work hard for everything nowadays and that’s a positive thing.”
They’ve been around for less than a year, but have poured everything into this band, which is more than evident on their 2016 self-titled EP. Though chock-full of cranium-smashing belters, in their eyes, this barely taps their full potential. Refusing to conform to the guidelines of the typical deathcore formula, it’s the relief that this genre so badly deserves.
“We love deathcore, but we want to open up a bit,” Kage explains. “There’s only so much you can do in that genre, so why limit ourselves? We want to add other elements to our music and better ourselves with each track we do. For our last EP, we scrapped so many songs. They weren’t what the scene needed from us.”
“When we write, we write for ourselves and live in the moment,” adds drummer Samwell Gayne. “We’ve been called metalcore, djent, hardcore and even post-hardcore. We don’t even know what to call ourselves ha ha ha!”
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Though we’d argue they sit most comfortably in the deathcore groove, staying the course is not on Upon Those Dying’s agenda. Their second EP is currently in the works and seemingly still untitled, and a melodic change of pace seems to be on the cards. It’s a risky move, considering how the ‘deff-core’ police revile at the very mention of the M-word. But being nails as fuck, Kage and co see it as their duty to strive towards this path for the good of humanity.
“It’s about pushing the boundaries both in terms of heaviness and creativity,” James states with the utmost conviction. “For me, heavier parts sound bigger when you’ve got something more melodic or ambient to offset it; there’s a lot more impact there. Our new song, which we haven’t named yet, is a perfect example of that. It’s our first song that’s got clean vocals but it’s probably the heaviest track we’ve ever done.”
“I think no one really expects that from us and people have reacted really well to it when we play it live,” Kage says of the new material. “We’ve had to tread quite carefully into that melodic zone, but it’s still going to be cool and heavy as shit, so who cares?”