Underneath
From the Gut of Gaia


4.0
excellent

Review

by artificialbox USER (13 Reviews)
April 11th, 2024 | 22 replies


Release Date: 01/19/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not dead in the water.

Underneath are a perplexing band. Starting out as a bedroom deathcore project with multi-instrumentalist and kid genius Joey Philips at the helm, they released a debut EP that could have easily fooled me into thinking they have been around the block for decades. Somehow, despite being super hyped on their EP and subsequent singles, their debut LP From the Gut of Gaia slid completely under my radar for almost three months. I wouldn't usually blame a band for my inability to be hip and in-the-know, but Underneath didn't exactly do themselves any publicity favours with this album either. It was released through an obscure independent tape label based in Canada, and then the band completely wiped their Instagram account only to come back later with a post claiming that the band has undergone some changes, all prior music is "dead in the water" and to be regarded as demos, and that their first official release is yet to come. Strange, but okay.

If From the Gut of Gaia is a demo, then everybody else needs to step up their ***ing game immediately. Not only does this album feature some masterful punchy songwriting and a thoughtful, engaging track flow, but it has some seriously pro sounding production to back it all up. Guitars and bass are loud and coated in a layer of filth, while the drums are nice and crisp to offer a sense of precision and clarity to the rhythm section that keeps the dirt from bleeding over the edge of the chalice. Joey's vocals sound straight up demented in their anger, and I really appreciate the tasteful variations in range and delivery on display here. Joey treats us to everything from low, to lower, to even lower, some highs for balance, and then those hilariously disgusting slam gutturals on the aptly titled "Disguster" are just icing on the cake. There are also these quick little back and forth pick scrapes all over this album that sound like the crack of a metallic whip (or a burst fire from a laser gun?) and I absolutely love them, even if they are abused in certain songs. There is a laborious attention to detail here that is honestly impressive for such a young band. They have implemented an easter egg hunt of ear candy so that you always hear something new when you smash the replay button.

Catchy isn't usually the first word that comes to mind when I think of blistering deathcore bands, but the way Underneath jumps from these grinding double kick tremolo assaults into insanely groovy mid tempo death metal riffage just activates the neurons in my dopamine deficient brain in a way that keeps me coming back over and over again to engage in the spiralling pursuit of madness. Nasty riffs and quick left hook transitions are a recipe for instantly memorable and addictive moments. The length of these tracks definitely lend themselves to the replay value of this album as well, with an average length of one to three minutes long. There is no fat on these tracks. They are concise, and nothing gets lost in excess, but that doesn't mean the band doesn't indulge in a little ambiance as a treat when they want to. Mid album interlude "-epoch-", for instance, features some somber reverberated plucking and distorted voice samples that transition nicely into the atmospheric black metal intro of "The Second Great Dying", but it doesn't last long before Underneath comes back to remind you that they are here to beat ass first and foremost.

The mammoth fifteen minute title track closer is the only song where the band fully gives in to the experimental blackened death fantasy and strings the listener along with a series of blast beats and slow atmospheric doom passages. The track is technically only 10 minutes long if you discount the spooky 5 minutes of tape decay and an acapella performance of the Christian hymn "Amazing Grace" that sounds like it was damaged by nuclear waste. This part of the track honestly gives me Fallout Radio vibes and I never feel like skipping it. It's quite a fitting way to go out, as a lot of the lyrics on this album center around the theme of religion and the man made destruction of earth.

Again, if this was just a demo, then this band has a very bright future ahead of them. I have absolutely no doubt that they will continue to top themselves as they evolve and grow into their newly fleshed out lineup. I just hope that future Underneath fans will give From the Gut of Gaia the credit it deserves, as I am inclined to believe this album is more than just a shot in the dark, nor is it dead in the water.



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user ratings (56)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
artificialbox
April 11th 2024


2057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I AM SHIT AT REVIEWING METAL but I was shocked that this managed to slide under the radar and felt like it needed some love ASAP. tyman woulda done a much better job!!!

KrillBoi
April 11th 2024


477 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sludgy core for the gym, goes hard

artificialbox
April 11th 2024


2057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

hell yeah. defs gonna jam this on my next run.

gregorgojira
April 11th 2024


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of the best 'records' of the year so far, even if it's just a 'demo'

Slex
April 11th 2024


16765 Comments


This sounds awesome, will check
Also great review

SteakByrnes
April 11th 2024


30114 Comments


I still have to hit this lol keep forgetting, sick review art!

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2024


1614 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Yesssss nice write-up. Loved Nothing Here Is Held Sacred so looking forward to hearing this

artificialbox
April 11th 2024


2057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

my first featured review :’)



thanks buddies!

Slex
April 11th 2024


16765 Comments


Absolutely deserving of a feature, congrats dude!

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2024


1614 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

^^^^^^^^

AlexKzillion
April 11th 2024


17544 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

love love love this album so happy it finally got a review



most played album of the year so far for me

Viraemias
April 11th 2024


424 Comments


This is the deathcore version of Frail Body -
Artificial Bouquet

cycosynner
April 11th 2024


165 Comments


Pittsburgh REPRESENT!

Feather
April 12th 2024


10291 Comments


Glad this got a review, I dug this when I checked it out awhile back. EP was real solid as well.

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2024


10144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah ngl the riffs here are friggin massive lol

Also Underneath vox are a nightmare and a half. Only thing I dont dig here is the pick scrape abuse that gets a bit overdone imo

artificialbox
April 12th 2024


2057 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Haha yeah, I think they made the pick scrapes sound cool af and it scratches an itch in my brain but I agree they went HAM with them

TheTripP
April 12th 2024


4567 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

excited to see what the future of this band holds

metalprofiteer
April 12th 2024


47 Comments


I liked their first EP A LOT, but this album didn't really do anything for me and I barely played it and have no desire to revisit it. Big sad.

Hawks
April 18th 2024


90434 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is literally just generic deathcore bros sorry lmao.

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
April 18th 2024


1614 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Yeah gotta say I enjoyed this but was quite underwhelmed. Expected more tbh



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