Before it drops next month, Underøath have premiered their new album 'Voyeurist' via a very special immersive concert experience. This is how it shows why they are still one of the most ferocious and forward-thinking bands that the scene has.
Last year Underøath found a different method to unleash their adrenaline in the midsts of pandemic uncertainness with a series of very special and very live performances called ‘Øbservatory’. Not just a way to keep their minds sharp and look back over the paths they have left footprints on, it also allowed their creative muscles to stay loose and fluid. Fast forward to now, and we are mere weeks away from the release of the band’s new record ‘Voyerist’, a collection of songs that serves as a culmination of the unbridled ferocity those livestreams allowed and has been inspired by the digitalised world in which we have all had to exist that little bit more recently. The band clearly couldn't be more proud of what they have made.
And that is where ‘Digital Ghost’, this brand new concert experience, comes in. Because what better way to introduce such a record to the world than from a place that the band feel their most comfortable, corrosive and confident. The stage.
The first thing that hits you as opening skull-crusher ‘Damn Excuses’ bursts into life is just how claustrophobic the band have made their stage set up for this exceptional performance. Everybody is in very close quarters, with cameras pointing at them from tight angles, allowing every fret movement, cymbal clash and keyboard twinkle to be captured beautifully. Then there is the static that buzzes on the screens that make up the walls surrounding them, spanning from the hypnotisingly soft to the brutally savage, burrowing into your mind as the band put their bodies on the line around it. Then there's the array of dancers, dressed head to toe in black except for their ominous digital masks that stalk around the band, staring into their souls and making things even more close quarters and threatening than they already are. It's all a setting that perfectly suits the mood of 'Voyeruist', a tight and terrifyingly all-consuming mesh of throbbing gristle and technological decay. It’s all incredibly apocalyptic.
This is the first time that Underøath have presented their latest batch of work to the world, and based on this performance, you can see how much it has affected all of them. From the heavenly chaos of ‘Hallelujah’ to the belligerent darkness of ‘Cycle, the sheer grit and determination on the faces of the whole band as they deal out desolating blow after desolating blow is unmatched. The behaviour of a band who, even this deep into their journey, are still finding such tremendous joy in being able to create such challenging and corrosive sounds together.
And those sounds are genuinely astounding. ‘I’m Pretty Sure I’m Out Of Luck And Have No Friends’ patiently builds with otherworldly sonics flying around between every corner of the room, hypnotising you with off-kilter glitches and ghostly melodies. ‘Thorn’ trickles into ‘(No Oasis)’ like hot tar, pulling you into a false sense of security before ‘We’re All Going To Die’ cracks you around the head with a baseball bat. When performed in such a space as this, every layer of every song shimmers like diamonds and ensnares the senses at every turn.
And as the stunning curtain closing crescendo of heartbreaking seven-minute epic ‘Pneumonia’ washes over the band and all watching like a thousand tear-stained waves, it’s the perfect time to sum up what Underøath have achieved here. With an album that will go down as a future classic at their disposal, the band have premiered and presented it in a way that is as engaging but also exhilaratingly mind-blowing. And it’s all encased in its own piercing universe that looks and feels as ferociously visceral as it does wonderfully dystopian. And to still be creating boundary-shattering, bold and brutal art of this calibre nearly 25 years into their story and confirming that they have no intention of slowing down is nothing short of a triumph.
January 14 can’t come soon enough.
The band told us the full story of how they made 'Voyeurist' in this special edition of Rock Sound, featuring a world exclusive t-shirt.
You can pick it up from right HERE