Underminded - Hail Unamerican! (Cover Artwork)


Hail Unamerican! (2004)

Kung Fu

Although they started out as a So-Cal hardcore punk outfit that sometimes sounded like a less-commercial version of The Used, Underminded somehow morphed into a breakdown-loving, double-bass-thrashing metalcore/punk combo. They signed on with Kung Fu records after much publicity from a webzine called Decoy and landed a very important slot on the SmartPunk stage for the 2004 Warped Tour.

Sometime shortly after that tour ended, Underminded blessed the world with their debut album, Hail Unamerican!. While the title screams politics, it's not really political at all -- plus or minus one song -- it's more just uh, interesting. The band has some very good moments, both lyrically and musically, especially when they're sticking closer to the sound they experimented with mostly at the beginning of their career (the excellent "Burn the Metropolis," for one), but for the most part, they're kind of stagnant. There's a little too much breakdown in every song and whatever momentum the song is building at the time is almost always killed -- but fortunately, the band can play their instruments quite well (the drummer is only seventeen and he can play on par with some twice his age) and the vocals are excellent.

Songs like "It's Kinda Like A Bodybag" scream for a good new-school metalcore pit, "Burn the Metropolis" has some great anthemic chants going on in the chorus, and "Pablo Escobar's Secret Stash Revisited" just kinda kicks ass; it sounds so evil. The Thrice-like guitars mesh well with the degree-lessened Unearth vocals and the Stillborn Records style hardcore group screams in the background to form an interesting amalgam of... well, hardcore stuff. That statement right there kind of fits the whole album, too. When Hail Unamerican isn't stalling in its own ambitions, it's a pretty rockin' good time.