Hel Sterne – vocals, lead/rhythm guitar
Taz Corona-Brown – vocals, rhythm guitar
Olly Corona-Brown – bass
Tom McKibbin – drums
3-Song of Stones
Anhedonia is the second album from Oxford gloom merchants, Undersmile. A follow up from their debut, Narwhal, their second offering is promised to be a sheer wall of misery woven noise . Having never heard of Undersmile before, that statement peeked my curiosity, and working with the likes of Chris Fielding (Conan, Electric Wizard) is certainly a factor to back up such claims.
OK, so my initial impressions were of a poor man’s Royal Thunder. But such thoughts were put to rest as I ventured further, the pace meanders through at a pace where by it lets you take in every inch of scenery, it’s very easy to get lost in. Every now and again though, there’s a slap in the face by riffs with hands the size of a child, you can imagine the effect.
Once you hit ‘Song of Stones’, the depth of this album continues to get deeper and deeper. It’s like staring into a chasm, and hearing ungodly screams from the depths below, the vocal harmonies of Sterne and Corona-Brown are serine like a siren’s song, but once you’re lulled into a false sense of security, their true monstrous form takes shape. Truth be told, you’d be hard pressed to find more astounding harmonies anywhere else, it’s one of the crowning glories of this snail paced juggernaut.
Another said glory, is how layered and rich the album becomes as it progresses. The addition of cellos and the like, adds a much needed layer to an album which otherwise would of sounded very generic otherwise. It’s something I truly wasn’t expecting, and leads to my earlier point of being lost in this, for me it’s the absolute best part of the album.
Anhedonia is such an unexpected surprise, I could easily explore its vast number of catacombs for days. It’s aggressive like a bull shark, yet as delicate as a unicorn, a balance which so many bands cannot muster, yet Undersmile do it with ease. Expect them to push towards the upper echelon of dooms elite, because simply put, they are that good!
Review by Ryan Spearman