Underdark – Our Bodies Burned Bright on Re-Entry (Review)

Underdark - Our Bodies Burned Bright on Re-EntryUnderdark are a post-black metal band from the UK and this is their debut album.

Underdark combine black metal, post-rock, post-hardcore/screamo, and blackgaze into their sound. That might sound like a slightly strange mix of subgenres, but on Our Bodies Burned Bright on Re-Entry these influences all coalesce into a very effective and enjoyable 36 minutes of post-blackened darkness. Although the band’s various influences could theoretically sound disjointed and lacking in flow, the reality is that the music on Our Bodies Burned Bright on Re-Entry sounds natural and unforced. Black metal is clearly the underlying parent style, with blackgaze adding extra atmospheric depth, post-rock lending further texture, and post-hardcore and screamo making themselves felt in the vocals, some of the guitars, and the overall songwriting and dynamics. For a general rough impression, think of a mix of Deafheaven, Circle Takes the Square, and Harakiri for the Sky.

The music combines ferocious blackened aggression and softer atmospheric dreamscapes. The songs are a very modern-feeling interpretation of black metal, despite many of the ingredients being quite old at this point. There are sometimes entire sections that wouldn’t be out of place on a screamo album from the mid-00s, (the title track has a great example of this, as does With Ashen Hands Around Our Throats), although these parts are generally soon replaced with vicious blackened nastiness before too long.

The vocals are mainly harsh screams, with other styles appearing here and there, especially deep growls. The screams are delivered with a hardcore edge in places, and are effectively performed. The overall impression is of a cross between black metal and screamo, which can also be said about the music overall.

Underdark have successfully created an album that sounds a little different to many post-black/blackgaze/etc. albums out there. The post-hardcore/screamo influences are a big part of this, but it is how these are incorporated into the band’s overall blackened framework that’s important, and Underdark do this well.

Our Bodies Burned Bright on Re-Entry is definitely a recommended listen for fans of hybrid black metal styles.

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