UK band UNDER have been operating out from their base in Stockport for around three years at this point, releasing an initial EP in 2015, with their full length debut album “Slick” following suit in the spring of 2017. “Stop Being Naive” is their sophomore effort, and was released through UK label APF Records in the fall of 2018.
As far as metal bands are concerned, Under appears to belong to the segment of bands that opt to try something a bit different. They generally shy away from the most common varieties of their chosen pastures in the metal universe, and I do not get the impression that they are out seeking to charm their way into any specific audience base either. This is an innovative band, both as a metal band in general and for the specific subsets of metal they are taking on in particular.
Under operates out from a foundation though, and that foundation is doom metal, and then of a kind and variety that will sound familiar to long time fans of bands such as Electric Wizard. Dark, heavy and booming in a manner that invites for your loudspeakers to implode rather than explode. That is a foundation however, and one they at times choose to ignore almost completely at that, but it is still enough of a presence to make it something of an identifying trait or a musical red thread.
What Under adds to the proceedings are multiple movements in many directions. The repetitive forms of stoner rock and metal is perhaps a natural outlier here, with as well as without some planned or accidental nods towards good, old krautrock. Dirty, psychedelic and almost cosmic laden instrument textures is a part of the totality as well, as additional flavoring as well as explored by way of overlays and more purebred interludes and inserts. A touch of post-metal is a natural resident in these waters as well, on occasion reminding ever so slightly of a band like Tomahawk, and in the more abrasive exploits of this kind a band like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum came to mind as well. That Under also adds in a liberal dose of noise rock to these landscapes further expands the canvas explored here, and that they opt for a couple of creations where doom metal meets hardcore in more of a sludge metal kind of way is probably regarded as natural at this point.
In short, a lot is going on here, and not too much of it is explored and executed in a conventional manner. That the album has something of a dirty and grimy feel to it further adds to the netherworldly feel and atmosphere of this creation. Challenging with subtly noxious fumes, appealing and hypnotizing in something of a filthy manner.
Under’s second album “Stop Being Naive” is a production that I guess will mainly have something of a niche appeal. As far as doom metal albums goes it is daring and adventurous, with noise rock and post-metal flirts brought in and explored in a grimy, filthy landscape. Challenging, innovative and dirty music with sludge, noise, psychedelia and twisted, demented details as a part of the overall experience. If that is a description that sounds enticing, this is a band that merits a few minutes of your time.
My rating: 78/100