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Undersmile : A Sea Of Dead Snakes

Undersmile's music is a haunting experience.

Undersmile is a female fronted Sludgy Doom band from Oxford, England. This is their debut EP from last year, released through Blindsight Records.

Two girls are in command, to be precise: Hel Sterne on vocals and lead guitar, and Taz Corona-Brown on vocals and guitar. They both largely contribute to the deliquescent identity of the band: their vocal lines are bleak and apathetic, almost frightening in their atonal vibes. Far from what one could expect from female singers, the girls strip down the emotional potential of the female voice to its lower level: only a core of despair, loathing and emptiness remains. I have read somewhere that the girls have since gone on to be described as 'bloody awful', 'horrible' and 'disgusting'... unbelievable! Where that statement comes from, I canít say as itís just the opposite! They bear the gentle stigmata of insanity, sure, but their chants are still beautiful, really.

The sound texture is carefully crafted; the guitars roar and moan in poisonous spasms. The rhythm section (heavily down-tuned bass and barbaric drumming) unrelentingly hits and drones. Undersmile weave a velvety dark web, fascinating in its many undulations: it mesmerizes its prey that, baited by the black juice of Doom blessed with a whiff of Sludge, gets lost in its meshes, and dies asphyxiated by the warm gusts of the apathetic despair that oozes from all the pores of the beast that has made its nest in the middle of it.

Haunting experience this EP. Not much will overwhelm you, no blast of anger, no crushing magma, not a lot of variety either, but a soothing and sort of mind- numbing ceremonial. Cold yet threatening and fiercely boiling under the surface.

On this first release, the very direct and raw sound, the live rendition - dry and without any post-surgical refinements - drains a bit the destructive potential of the heavy rhythms, the telluric essence of the band is thereby diluted. It's a shame, as the ritualistic dimension, occult and sub-terrestrial Undersmile strive to develop and knead could find in a more powerful production and adequate propitiatory instrument.

The band will soon release their first album 'Narwhal' which is based on lamentations on the terrors of the sea and theyíve just recorded a split with Winchester's Caretaker, which will be coming out before the end of 2011 (on Blindsight Records). Letís keep our eyes and ears peeled, Ďcause Undersmile is a weird and original beast that should gain all the attention it deserves.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Instrumenstrual
2. Cutters Choice
3. Teutonic Dyselxia
4. Crab People
5. Spore

Duration : Approx. 37 minutes

Visit the Undersmile bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-06-14 by Bertrand Marchal
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