Review: Underdark / Antre – Split

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Label: F H E D / Callous Records / Grandad Records

The metal scene in Nottingham is in rude health as of recent years, with new, exciting bands forming, gigging, and releasing records. There’s especially been a growth in the size and quality of the local black metal scene recently, with bands such as Underdark and Antre at the front of this. The new split between the two acts is a furious ten minutes of searing black metal, and demonstrates just why both bands have something of a buzz around them at present in the underground.

Underdark – one of the best anti-fascist black metal bands – offer ‘The Smell of Autumn’, a track that will be familiar to those who have seen the band live recently. Starting with a slow, atmospheric build-up, filled with tension, it then shifts in to post-black metal fury, with vocalist Max being particularly full of fire, his shrieks sounding far more devastating than on previous EP Mourning Cloak. The bass lines are also especially noteworthy, carrying much of the melody during the body of the song whilst the guitars provide atmosphere. A Deafheaven comparison is still warranted, but the track feels more distinctive than previous efforts. It feels like a more bold, confident track than those previously released by the band, and demonstrates why Underdark are one of the most exciting bands in the UK black metal underground right now.

Antre’s track, ‘Hand of Fire’, is also a track steeped in atmosphere; but whereas Underdark are firmly rooted in post-black metal, Antre have more in common with bands like Winterfylleth or Wode. The track has that mournful, yet proud feel which defined the English heritage black metal scene some ten years ago; but there’s also a sense of fury to the song, with the vocals being particularly impassioned. Its almost five minute duration races by, and Antre sound like a band who are full of ideas and passion, with this song making atmospheric black metal sound exciting again.

Though this split may be fairly short, it is a record that it’s easy to listen to multiple times on repeat. Both bands offer an excellent quality song each, demonstrating why they’re both held in high regard by the local scene, and hopefully it won’t be too long until they release a full length.

Split is available digitally and on vinyl via Bandcamp.

 

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