posted on 6/2008 By:
Starterhead is the sole work of one Petter Dennevi and hails from Sweden. The website describes the band as ‘100% dark metal’ and that’s a pretty good description of the music on Undergrounding. While there is a death/black influence at work here (mainly in the vocals), Starterhead’s sound is predominantly groove-oriented heavy rock with hints of doom and electro-industrial. While musically sound and blessed with a huge, razor-sharp production courtesy of Jens Bogren, Undergrounding comes up quite short on the songwriting front, rendering the album average at best.
The album’s first real track "Deadly Mind" begins promisingly with a death metal feel in the verse giving way to an admittedly catchy rock-styled refrain. But the song soon loses momentum and gives way to mediocrity. Passion and energy are definitely lacking. "The Last Words" kicks off with a much faster tempo but again, the riffs and arrangements are too simplistic and repetitive to justify a song three minutes long, let alone five or six. "Underground" fares better, with improved intensity, stronger riffing and doom sensibilities that are more sincere.
Saving Undergrounding from being a complete bore is "Death Shines for Me", buried all the way at the back of the album. This is not just a decent song, but a very good one and the only track that truly lives up to the ‘dark music’ banner that Starterhead wave. Ironically, it’s the longest track on the album, but easily the best. From the genuinely sinister intro/verse riff, desperate vocals and twisted melodies to the rocking break at 4:54, "Death…" finally gets things right and leaves one with a good feeling as to what Starterhead are actually capable of. Hopefully the next batch of material will expand upon what this track achieves.
Apart from a few impressive moments Undergrounding is pretty unremarkable. Starterhead really need to ramp up the songwriting in order to make their material stick, because at the moment there’s so little of note going on that this album remains forgettable even after numerous spins. A little more blood and fire next time please.
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