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Monday, October 21, 2013

Album Review "Wood & Wire" split with Coma Wall and Undersmile

This latest release from the Shaman Recordings camp brings together Oxford UK's Undersmile and their acoustic alter-ego Coma Wall on one release.

Although this is Coma Wall’s debut, they’ve already gained fans after playing sets at Desertfest 2012 and supporting Dylan Carlson (of Earth) on his first ever solo show.The 3 songs, "Summer", "You Are My Death" and "Cutter's Choice" that are offered here are fine examples of stripped down and bare acoustic doom folk jams that are very down tempo with moody riffs, plodding percussion and solemn but transcendental vocals full of earthly and wet forest atmosphere. With elements of dark and bleak folk in the same vein as dark folk bands such as Fearthainne and the desolate and lost driftings of Earth, Coma Wall create a sumptuous sound that is laid back and introspective and is as close to true acoustic doom that you will hear, with this particular genre being somewhat rare, unless I'm missing all the good stuff.

The next 3 songs are from the mother band of Coma Wall; Undersmile. Having enlisted the engineering skills of Justin Greaves (Iron Monkey, Electric Wizard, Crippled Black Phoenix), Undersmile deliver 3 songs of slow and low doom that come in the form of "Soil", "Killer Bob" and "Hives". Each track is just as bleak as the songs from their Coma Wall persona but with a much heavier blackness. The vocals are dark but transcendent and are delivered in a monotone like chant over monolithic and crushing riffs that take their time to pulverize. The drums are sloth like and sparse but when hit they are as earth shaking as the riffs are crushing. Mixing some of their influences such as Swans and Babes in Toyland, Undersmile produce a cold bleakness drawn from the well spring of atmospheric doom that is all at once depressing and invigorating, a paradox that works very well for Undersmile.

"Wood & Wire" can be heard and purchased now from the Shaman Recordings Bandcamp where you can also hear their previous release from UK doomers Black Magician.


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