Undersmile – A Sea Of Dead Snakes …   Leave a comment

Undersmile are a female-fronted sludge, doom outfit from Oxford, England that neatly blend the sonic dirges of dopethrone-era Electric Wizard, The Melvins and Grief and give it their own unique edge and vibe. The band is without a doubt in my mind, one of the surprises of 2011 as they have arrived onto the scene out of nowhere it seems even though I am sure many UK sludge fans would already be aware of how unrelentingly brutal the band can be. They call the ‘A Sea Of Dead Snakes’ a EP although it lasts for almost 40 punishing minutes of doom, sludge and drones. The two female guitarists steering this doom juggernaut are Taz Corona-Brown and Hel Sterne who both deliver vocals as well as pulverizing, discordant riffs.

What makes them unique though is how different genres are blended or should I say mangled into their sound. They seem to be influenced by Electric Wizard, Saint Vitus and other doom-greats but there is also a big nod to other female-driven acts like Hole and they might hate me for saying that but vocally they have the same kind of angry sneer that Courtney Love had in her early days. But make no mistake, this is heavy and I mean really really heavy.

The opening track with the great title of ‘Instrumenstrual’ is a crawling, seething intro for whats to come and when the first real, full track enters the picture, a tune called ‘Cutters Choice’, the flood-gates to hell are opened with huge, monolithic riffs, nasty angry pissed-off vocals and sickly down-tuned bass and primitive drumming. The music is a visceral, emotional pull that is asphyxiating as the sound is pushed to sub-sonic levels of intensity. It is ugly and relentless but there is a sense of underlying melody that is kind of buried in the sound when you first hear it but it comes out in a big way with repeated spins of the disc. ‘Teutonic Dyselxia’ is up next and this is where the EP or mini-album for the want of a better term gets really nasty. This track is monolithic, intense sludge that slowly grinds along for over 10 minutes. It is darker and more apocalyptic than the opening tracks and this seems to be what Undersmile does best. There is a lot of apathetic droning and mesmerizing ambience while remaining intensely heavy and raw. The band is not exactly masters of their instruments but there is so much depth and expansiveness to their sound that none of that stuff really matters at all. This track proves to be the albums highpoint and centerpiece but the rest of the release is almost, just as good.

The following ‘Crab People’ is musically disturbing with the way it is played. Disjointed, strange riffs give the song a uniqueness that is disorienting at first, till you get a handle on whats going on. Musically it is real off-the-wall material but again, the underlying melodies and the haunting intensity draws you in and you soon find yourself mesmerized by this strange, twisted barrage of bizarre sludgy experimentation. ‘Spore’ closes the album and is another one of the highlights. This track is doom-laden dementia for all of its 9 minutes as there is so much sick and twisted, psychotic playing going on. Everything from gargantuan doom-riffs to wild almost, Hendrix-like soloing is unleashed with a very bombastic approach and to top it off, you get heavy doses of feedback and some of the dirtiest bass-lines you will ever hear – calling it mind-numbing is a under-statement. When it is all over, there is not much variety and not much that hasn’t been done before but few can do it quite like the way Undersmile do it. The twin female vocals is a major-plus in this case as it certainly gives the band a unique appeal but it is no gimmick, these gals know their doom and they are obviously very serious about crushing brain cells.

I have heard through the grapevine that this EP is somewhat of a teaser for the full-length album they have planned that is due for release by the end of 2011 and I have heard the tracks on that are even fatter, weirder, darker and even heavier, don’t see how that is possible but my mouth is watering just at the thought of it. Undersmile are perhaps my favorite band out of the newbies for 2011, this EP is now on constant rotation so I say, check it out ASAP but be ready for an unsettling experience…….9/10

Undersmile Official Facebook
Undersmile @ MySpace


Posted June 15, 2011 by doommantia in Undersmile

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: