Thursday, 23 January 2014

Underkill - Judas Hole EP


You all know I'm one for the underdog. I like nothing more than sitting back and listening to a new, undiscovered band. It's not that I'm elitist and like to be the first one to say I've heard "that" band, but it's because I just enjoy digging around and unearthing rad stuff. This brings me to Underkill. These dudes are a young thrash band from Darmstadt in Germany. Their EP Judas Hole, was released in July 2011. To date, Judas Hole is the bands only recorded output.

Tracklist:-

1. Solidity
2. Judas Hole
3. Life Is War
4. Ellipsis
5. Behold
6. Wanderlust
7. Nuclear Rage

Think of German thrash and three bands immediately spring to mind - Sodom, Destruction and Kreator. They took the reigns of German thrash and inspired a whole host of fans, to pick up instruments and form bands themselves. Coupled with their cousins from across Europe, the UK and of course the US/South America created one of the most popular metal sub-genres. Underkill are no doubt inspired by those bands.

There brand of thrash is rip-roaring straight from the off, with the warp-speed riffs of Solidity signalling their arrival. The German accent vocals hit the spot, as do the powerful drums. Unlike the recent thrash revival that spurned bands like Evile and Municipal Waste, Underkill choose a more classic sound. It’s not raw but the guitar tones sound like they are from an earlier incarnation of thrash, which is a good thing in my eyes. It’s always night to hear bands playing it simple and not being overly technical, to try and fit the scene. The title track proves that Underkill really were born in the wrong era. They use a long intro and minimal vocals in the song, just like early-Metallica and the guitars come across like Iron Maiden during the verses. The song is also book-ended by some nice acoustic guitar.

Life is War makes an immediate impact when the guitar riffs kick in and the song, even though not melodic in the true sense has something about it. It’s like listening to true heavy metal twinned with Motorhead. the musicianship is excellent and again Underkill don’t over-do it. Underkill allow a moment of calm at the mid-point of Judas Hole, with Ellipsis being an acoustic interlude, which keeps momentum going before Behold takes over. Their songs really have a catchiness to them, again thanks to their simplicity. It’s often harder for a band to pull it off that it is for them to go over the top. Just like the title track from earlier, Behold allows Underkill to show off their more expansive side. Just check out that solo!

By the time the band reaches their penultimate song Wanderlust, they’re well and truly in their stride and they sound freer and more relaxed. The wall of sound created by the guitars is matched by the atmospherics that they create and the level of technicality and proficiency hits all the right notes (no pun intended!). It all leads to Underkill’s final blow out, Nuclear Rage. It underlines what Underkill is all about and in it’s four short minutes, it seems to life the band to greater heights. You know sometimes when you hear a band and you think “why aren’t they bigger”, chances are they’ll be in the same position as underkill, which to me is criminal. I really dig this band and you should too!

Check out Judas Hole here:-


Judas Hole can either be snagged as a pay-what-you-want download or as a physical CD from Underkill's bandcamp page above.

Underkill Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Underkill

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