We’ve been on a roll lately with the heavier side of progressive music. Last week we reviewed the manic heaviness of Prometheus and now we’ve got Boston’s The Under, a trio of seriously amped up dudes who bring a lot of punkish energy to their brand of riff heavy yet subtly intricate power trio version of prog metal. The band last put out their debut full-length album Mercurial in 2009, but rumor has it that they’ve got a new one in the works so let’s hope it’s at least as good as the last one.
The band has the standard power trio format of guitar, bass and drums and is, as the band puts it, “a delightful mélange of metal, rock, classic rock, prog, punk, indie, crunk” and that’s a great description of what they’re all about. I also hear a lot of modern fusion in their use of unusual chord work. The band is anchored by the great guitar playing of Daniel Costa who also has quite a set of pipes on him and can definitely bring the Geddy Lee/Rob Halford brand of intense high-range vocals. Most of the songs on the album are in the four to seven minute range which allows the band to set up some great grooves but also to stretch out a bit where they often amp up the doom-laden heaviness.
Most of all the band wants you to rock and then offset it with a lot of soft and moody intensity. Costa’s vocals are kind of interesting but I think my favorite song on the album is Anaximander which is the shortest song on the album at just under 4 minutes but has some really beautiful playing (even adding in a sitar-effect in the middle of the piece) to offset some of the heavier songs on the album. Or for a real aural workout, check out No Great Divide which begins with a subtle guitar before cranking out some mammoth riffs that build intensely and shift the mood constantly. Actually I think the band works best when they contrast their brand of manic heaviness with the slower, more introspective stuff. The album closer, The Only Path has some really beautiful and passionate playing and is a great way to end the album.
The Under is definitely for fans who like the hard rock end of the prog metal spectrum or who like a lot of aggressive and heavy music without crossing over into death metal territory so if that interests you, you can check out Mercurial via the Spotify playlist below or you can also download the whole album for FREE via their BandCamp site here.
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