Undersmile – Narwhal (Future Noise Recordings, 28 May 2012)
If you spend any amount of time poking around this blog (and I highly encourage you to do so!), you’ll quickly notice that I have a fairly broad range of musical taste. Most of the stuff that I listen to would be classified under some metal genre or other, although not all of it. Everything else would usually fall into one or more categories of punk, hardcore, hard rock, or pretty much anything that’s heavy, but once again, you still couldn’t fit all that I listen to in such neat little boxes. Even just looking at the metal music, you’d find me all over the spectrum there as well, touching upon (at least to some degree) practically every subgenre ever invented.
However, one recurring theme you might discover, is that I’ve always had a certain affinity towards the sludgey, the grimey, the filthy, and in particular, the mind-numbingly slow. If it sounds like it was recorded with an hourglass instead of a metronome, chances are I’ll be all over it like zombies attacking a MENSA convention.
So naturally, when I first discovered Oxfordshire’s Undersmile (courtesy of American Aftermath including one of their songs on last summer’s Summer of Sludge compilation), I instantly fell in love, because they just totally hit all the right buttons for me.
Late last year when I heard the news that they were in the process of recording their debut full-length album, I was delighted, and later, when more details and some preview tracks started to emerge, I got even more excited.
Did you ever have something you were anticipating so much that you almost felt nervous about whether it would ultimately live up to the hype? Even if it turns out to be really really good, could it possibly be as good as you were expecting? Or even worse, what if the thing you were so convinced was going to be amazing — and that you’ve been telling everyone around you how amazing you think it’ll be — turns out to be terrible? Of course, you wouldn’t be looking forward to something that much without having some prior knowledge or some sort of basis on which to establish those expectations, so there’s a very small chance that it would, in fact, be awful — but there’s still that remote possibility. Isn’t that just nerve-wracking?
Well now that I’ve gotten my copy of Undersmile’s Narwhal and listened to it a few times, I’ve discovered that I didn’t even know the meaning of the words “terrible” or “awful”…