Reviews for Black Metal, Death Metal and some Ambient! The concept behind this site is to do full discography reviews. I will do my best to track down an entire discography to celebrate a band's evolution. I'm pretty strict on sticking to those genres, so please don't request I review something else. I also buy the vast majority of all the things I review and I don't really take promos from labels or demos from bands. If you're worth hearing, I will probably find you.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Underdark - I Am Above All
Wraith Productions, 2006
Genre: Black Metal
1. Basements of Consciousness
2. Apotheosis of Insignificance
3. Break Out
5. Depth of Idea (insTrueMental)
6. I am Above All
7. I Have Become the Wind
8. Hør Min Sang
This was an obvious purchase because
this album features the drummer from Drudkh and Astrofaes going solo, but I’m
more familiar with Drudkh. I was
expecting a fairly high quality release considering this drummer’s CV/résumé. I guess on some levels I was expecting
another Necromorbus success, since Chaos Omen is such a great work, but, alas,
Amorth isn’t quite that good.
Anyway “I am Above All” for the most
part is a pretty good release. It’s not
surprising to point out that in terms of guitar work it bears some resemblance
to Saenko’s work. Though, I would say
more in the vein of Hate Forest than Drudkh in influence. Underdark is much rawer than the other bands
Amorth has performed with and it’s not nearly as solid in my perspective. At times the drums seem disjointed from the
rest of the music, which I found to be very curious considering this guy is
clearly a good drummer. For example in
the song “Leaving” it’s riddled with off beat sequences that just feel so far
out of place that it doesn’t work. I don’t
mind my fair share of well done off timed drumming, but this is not well done
to me. It seems more like Amorth
struggles to bring the beats to an off time level and tries to force the song
to his “experimental” will but the song just won’t listen to him, so it sounds,
in the end, like there are two tracks being played in opposition to each other. The one saving grace for Amorth is that I
know he’s doing it on purpose and it’s not due to his inexperience behind a
kit, for those of you wondering what the difference is between the off timed
drumming in Judas Iscariot versus the off time drumming in Underdark.
Regardless, the strong point here is the
guitar work because some of these riff sequences are just great. Listen to the song “Basement of
Consciousness” and try and tell me that doesn’t have a great guitar line. It’s mesmerizing and so well done to me. The vocals on the album are kind of just
there, they don’t exactly stand out or enhance the song, and they just kind of
exist in their own right, but don’t add or take away from the music. It’s pretty standard form Black Metal in that
regard at least. “I Have Become the
Wind” is by far the best track that’s done by Underdark. It’s got distorted guitar mixed with clean
and is at a slower pace than the other tracks, but it’s got a lot more emotion
behind it than the others I thought.
This was definitely a highlight track for me and a whole album of this
quality wouldn’t at all be a bad thing to me!
The more shocking song on here and another of the best is the cover
track at the end. It’s originally by
Kari Rueslatten, as many may know of her from her work in Storm that also
featured Satyr and Fenriz, though she is not proud of that. Her main claim to fame, though, is The 3rd and the Mortal. Amorth upped the
recording quality for this particular track and it really changes how the album
closes entirely, which is a high-point for the album. Having a good closer is never a bad thing.
Overall this is nothing new that hasn’t
really been done before. I would prefer
to listen to the works of Hate Forest and Drudkh over this to be honest. Underdark is a much more raw tone, so if you
ever wanted to hear a rawer version of those works then this is probably what
you’re looking for. I personally wish he
had produced it in a similar manner and tried less off beat sections on the drums;
it really throws off the guitar lines horribly.
In the end I would hardly say this album is “above all,” but its okay, a
mediocre release in the end to be perfectly honest. I think this musician could have done better
when it comes right down to it, not that I’m looking for a HateForest
copy-cat, but I think it could have had some improvements in the works.