The H. P. Lovecraft-inspired Death Metal four-piece Void Below formed “in the shadow of cloud crested hills, on the shores of dark, abyssal waters” of Whitehaven, Cumbria. Ironically, it is one of the most beautiful places in England. A complete contrast to the more stygian realms of Lovecraft’s imaginings.
Void Below – World Undone EP (Independent)
Release Date: 24 November 2023
Words: Jools Green
Void Below returns with their second EP, World Undone. This is a follow-up to their superb self-titled debut EP, released just eighteen months ago. Another grippingly brutal offering, Void Below melds once again an old-school Death Metal sound with those previously mentioned Lovecraft-inspired lyrics. So it also has an engaging dark quality too.
Opening with Eldritch Incarnate, which begins with an unnerving spoken soundbite, made more so by the addition of the sound of winds. Taken from the horror podcast Old Gods of Appalachia: “Digging too deep into the mines was the first mistake, this might have been the second, somewhere in the underneath, a barrier cracked, memories awakened, bones and flesh defiled, burnt and offered an invitation, an invocation, worship, darkness stirred, and the path to the world of men stood open…..”
This is followed by an unearthly, beastly roar. So you get a superb scene setter even before the music has started. But when it does, the riffs are powerful, slow and eerily dark. The vocals are raw and guttural but with a good degree of clarity of content. This is a slow, smouldering beast of a track that crawls much of the time. But the pace also builds and ebbs with sinister intent. You get eerie melodic passages between the crushingly dark elements.
The second half drops all the way back with unnerving effect, building back in sinister increments followed by a swathe of suitably eerie leadwork that also builds and escalates with unnerving intent, ending in a dramatic tail-off. Opening tracks don’t get much more impactfully impressive than this.
The next piece, Pillars Ov Pestilence, is the EP’s single. It continues with sinister undertones and crushing intent. The shortest track of the release, it still packs a huge punch, with a dramatic swathe of lead work just before midway and a second fabulously off-kilter burst towards the close, adding to the eerie atmosphere.
Building and ebbing in bleak increments until it reaches a driving pace, Beyond The Black Mire develops into a mass of jangling and spiralling riffs alongside sinister undertones. The vocals take on a superbly raw aspect, particularly the protracted second-half growl, culminating at the close in an insane, thrashy swathe of leadwork. A gripping piece of music.
The final piece, the ten-and-a-half-minute monster World Undone, brings this engaging EP to a close. It has an unnerving opening with more haunting wind sounds. This time, alongside sparse guitar and drum work, a gradual gathering in pace and complexity develops into a fuzzy, heavy Death/Doom feel. This moves towards you like an evil crawling darkness. The whispering backing vocals behind the raw delivery add extra atmosphere, as does the unnerving repeat riff.
Surprisingly and unnervingly stopping dead at the seven-and-a-half minute mark, it resumes as a bleak, reflective, haunting guitar repeat. Then, building back up with menacing intent, it culminated in a superb burst of soaring leadwork. The vocal chants and riffs take on a twisted, off-kilter, distorted and unnerving style, ending with the words, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” This was originally attributed to Vishnu in the Bhagavad Gita and made famous by the scientist Robert Oppenheimer.
World Undone is a superbly atmospheric and engaging piece. I love the stark back and white artwork with the otherworldly creatures rising up from the void. It perfectly captures the eerie stygian mood of World Undone, which should have great appeal to fans of the likes of Morbid Angel, Incantation, Funebrarum and Vastum.
The EP will be available via the band’s Bandcamp page along with all major streaming platforms.
…..and the elder gods will follow in its wake…