Underling - Bloodworship
Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-hardcore
8 songs (42' 28")
Release year: 2015
Reviewed by Andy

Hearing that Underling had started as a side project of Fallujah bassist Robert Morey, I cracked into their latest LP, Bloodworship, to give it a try. I always liked Fallujah, though it was fairly controversial among reviewers; but although it has some things in common with Fallujah's sound, Bloodworship's another thing entirely.

One might expect the disciplined riffing of Morey's more famous "post-tech-death" band. Ragged, hardcore-influenced screams instead vie with guitar grinds and shrieking leads, all on top of blastbeats. Blackout (no relationship to the Scorpions song) and Servant of Filth have a sad but ultimately cathartic vibe to them, guitarists Luke Farmilo and Jacob Zacharia laying down a solid atmosphere. There's a chance for listeners to catch their breath, as not all of the songs are as extreme; some of them have a series of clean breaks with ethereal female vocals driving the song more than Antonio Palermo's screams. Morey's basswork is more noticable on the slower songs like The Seventh Wall where he gets turned up in the mix under the pounding guitar chords.

Dark as the music tries to be, the thing Underling can't get away from is how positive it becomes. No matter how tormented Palermo can make himself sound, the chords always seem to end on an upward note, having much more of sunny California in them than the freezing fjords of Norway. The later tracks' blasting riffs and black-metal tremolo picking can't restrain the happiness of their emotions, becoming at their most bubbly more like uplifting Alcest hymns than misery-filled black metal. Sure, one can get behind that, I guess. But Becoming the Faintest Light starts becoming a little too emo for its own good, with sappy-sounding samples about life after death laying it on a bit too thick, and that on top of music that already has a number of rather syrupy post-hardcore predecessors.

Bloodworship is fairly decent, well-produced post-hardcore that ultimately succumbs to the same weaknesses that some critics lambasted The Flesh Prevails for. Listeners to the more upbeat types of atmospheric black metal will probably like it anyway.

Bandcamp: https://underling.bandcamp.com/album/bloodworship.

Killing Songs :
The Seventh Wall
Andy quoted 73 / 100
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