Undersave – Sadistic Iterations…Tales of Mental Rearrangement (2018)

Undersave play Anxiety Inducing Death Metal. There is no such thing of course, but if a death metal band was to make a feast of transcribing what someone in the middle of a panic attack feels like, then this would be a more than decent attempt. When the chain of cause and effect breaks down and perspective loses all meaning, the mind becomes a recluse from the light, hounded by demons of negativity and unreason. Contrasting the anguish of the present with the happiness of the past becomes near impossible, because the present becomes all-consuming and pervades every last inch of awareness. This mind now is as a wounded animal, surrounding itself with veritable barbed wire entanglements, skulking and inconsolable but also ready to lash out at shadows. It hardly knows what it does, it is without real agency even, and draws succor from indulging its torment until exhaustion thankfully takes over like a blanket of mercy.

Undersave‘s death metal is far from illogical or unheeding of cause and effect, but the wall of sound they create through jagged harmonies, repetition, and sheer note-density is distinctly psychological. Tension and release are integral aspects of any music of substance; the one promotes suspense and serves to hold the listener’s attention, the other gives him resolution. Tension by definition is ambiguous and a sentiment of uncertainty and portent. Release, however, is what leads to catharsis and in the grand telling allows the listener to appraise the emotional resonance of a piece of music.

It seems that tension and release function on at least two levels: at the level of dialogue between individual motifs, dialogue which then cumulatively and recursively breeds a mirrored bubble of tension and release at the level of the greater song. Often, the first is only subliminally heard by the casual listener, until it finally achieves a proportion that intrudes on his active consciousness. This is the Eureka! moment when the listener realizes he is experiencing something of emotional importance.

Imagine then if you will a lopsided version of this tension and release dynamic, where the buildup is incessant and respite near-nonexistent. Like a body flooded with stress hormones, on the verge of imploding upon itself, Undersave make their songs microcosms of explosive negative energy with no real escape valve. Only the band can answer how much of this approach is intentional, and only real, intensive analysis can ascertain how much of this impression is musically warranted, but that they achieve this net effect without resorting to the tonal manipulation or somnolent tempos favored by explicitly “depressive” bands suggests that there is at least a subconscious grasp of such notions at play.


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