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Underdark – ‘Our Bodies Burned Bright on Re-Entry’

Surviving Sounds
Deafheaven, Falloch, Alcest
Release Date
July 30, 2021
Surviving Sounds
Post-Black Metal/Post-Doom

‘Light and shade’ is a wonderful phrase to bear in mind when writing an album. Underdark are a band 90% of the way to utilising it perfectly, falling short at just a few points along this album, such as during the quiet section of title track ‘Our Bodies…’, when the abrasive, brutal vocal delivery slightly undermining the beauty of the foreboding, atmospheric music leading to the brilliant second half of the song. It’s a trend throughout the album, despite the efforts of opener ‘Qeres’ and final track ‘Skeleton Queen’. 

This is not to take away from the musical quality of this album, which is equal parts brutal and relentless, yet atmospheric, chilling, and cautious, creating an impressive Cult of Luna-esque soundscape, albeit more directly created through intensity, rather than sonic power. Since their debut EP ‘Mourning Cloak’, Underdark have made surprising use of more typically straight Rock chord sequences, creating a strangely easy listen for such a deep, atmospheric, and brutal album, and leading to surprisingly exciting moments throughout. If this piece was as consistently varied as the final track, it would undoubtedly be a great album. 

Given this is their first full-length album, it is definitely a quality statement of intent, although more varied vocal styles, and perhaps more instrumental breaks/spoken word sections could really bring a sense of completeness to their sound.

Overall, this is a quality first effort, and a great springboard for future work, despite falling short of some expectations the introduction sets up at times.

A good first album from a quality group of musicians

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