"Burn it to the ground/fuming lies again/poison from my mouth. All that I've destroyed/laying at my feet/smoke fills up my lungs." This figurative account of an individual's depravity begins Superstitions, the frantic 4-song EP from former-Solid-State-Records band The Undertaking! This punk/metal outfit's sophomore offering follows 2021's head-turning debut Funeral Psalms, and dives even deeper into self-loathing; though not for its own sake, but with a need for immediate change. To analogize what we have here, think of a ragtag group of skateboarders out for blood at night, in a spiritual thriller. Visceral, imminent lyrics are joined to dissonant power-chords and abrupt rhythms. The band seeks revenge, though its object lies squarely on their own shoulders in the form of sin and bad choices. It doesn't get any more on-the-nose than "I am the worst/I am the curse" from opener "Black Cats."
Austin Visser's high-pitched shrieks are absolutely chilling, though they can get a bit overbearing. As such, I find this bite-sized version much more palatable than their previous full-length. The highlight of the EP is the third track, titled "Death Acquires a Different Meaning," both because it's the most catchy of the bunch (especially the "I don't want it/I don't need it" section), and that it's the only track to feature clean vocals. The unpolished, yet clean delivery still portrays ferocity but gives much needed dynamic variance to the otherwise monotone piercings. This variance goes a long way towards rounding out the sound, and I hope it becomes a mainstay in future installments.
One word that would sum up Superstitions would be "urgent." Their life depends on every word. From the graphic imagery of self-flagellation ("Death Acquires a Different Meaning"), to witches and ghosts as a metaphor for demonic activity ("A Witch's Deathbed Confession"), heck, even the concept of free will takes on a crucial role ("Yes," which also includes a use of "free will be d*mned"). There is a certain movie-like quality to the EP, in that it paints its own world, albeit an unpleasant one, but one that portrays sin for what it is, and is awakened to spiritual realities. It won't be for everyone, but Superstitions certainly deserves a listen, if you can stomach it.- Review date: 4/16/23, written by Joel Zaloum of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Futurelore Records
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