Meet The Band: Unearthly Rites

Eetu Kolehmainen

The Finnish death metal band Unearthly Rites just released their full-length debut album Ecdysis. Guitarist Santtu Markko introduces us to his band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Unearthly Rites.
Santtu Markko: Unearthly Rites was formed in 2020 by me, originally as a studio project. After the self-titled EP and recording of the first album the final lineup was formed.

Describe the songwriting process for Ecdysis.
I wrote the songs and then we practiced them like four times with the drummer Tapsa (who also recorded on the album) and I did a demo for Sisli so she could write the lyrics. That’s it. Simo came straight to the studio to record lead guitars and bass.

Did you write more songs than appeared on the album?
No, we didn’t.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
It was a quite blurry session but lot’s of perfect first takes and superb vegan food.

What was the biggest challenge in its creation?
Probably getting our schedule to work for everybody.

How would you characterize its style/sound?
Old-school death metal. Moldy, grim and distorted. Definitely not modern. All analog.

What lyrical topics do you cover?
Dystopian visions and horrors of mankind against nature.

How did you come to sign with Prosthetic?
We talked with a couple labels and we thought this was the best way for us to spread our filth.

What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Only to get our music available for people. No expectations really.

How was the video shoot for “Ecdysis”?
It was edited by Gure Hitzak from our shows during summer 2023, adding some spice footage filmed in Lapland by our singer Sisli.

Your album is being released on both vinyl and cassette. Are you collectors of either?
Yes, both. More cassette lately though because they are cheaper.

Will you be playing any live shows in support of the album?
Yes we will! May 4th – Tampere, Finland @ Vastavirta klubi with Sonic Poison & Disguised Malignance. May 10th – Turku , Finland @ Nirvana wwith Frigid Winter, Below The Graves & Ruuhi.

How did you get started in music?
Maybe when I got my first drum kit around 9 years old. I grew up in a small town called Hyvinkää in southern Finland and the circles were very small so everyone who shared the same attitude knew each other and eventually played in the same bands.

Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Finnish ’80s and ’90s hardcore, early era Earache bands such as Napalm Death, Carcass and Terrorizer. Early Sepultura. Lots of grind and crust in general.

What was your first band, and what type of music did they play?
I think my first real band was Kuoleman Teatteri (name taken from Kaaos song title) playing hardcore punk. I was about 13 years old. We played one show and released one demo. I played some very improvised noisecore stuff before that and one punk band called Kulkutauti which played two gigs (one in the elementary school disco).

What was the first metal/rock/punk concert you attended?
Katastrofialue at Hyvinkää youth central sometime late nineties, some shitty local band competitions before that.

What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
Martial arts, vegan food, nature activities.

What’s in your current heavy musical rotation?
Antichrist Siege Machine – Purifying Blade
Coffins – Sinister Oath, Dome Runner – apocalypse.pulse.worship, Dream Death – Journey Into Mystery, Teitanblood – Death.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Listen to Tunkio.

(interview published May 4, 2024)

Watch Unearthly Rites – “Ecdysis” Video


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