ARTIST: Under Red Skies ft Duncan Bentley (Vulvodynia)
SINGLE TITLE: Plummet
RELEASE DATE: 1 November 2020
COUNTRY: USA/South Africa
CITY: Chicago/Cape Town
Anthony Hawkins (Vocals)
Brian Duran (Lead Guitar)
Encarnacion Tamez (Guitar)
Joey Lofendo (Bass)
Duncan Bentley (featured Vocals)
Trigger warning: This song (and this review) confronts topics including depression, mental illness and suicide.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am very much a sentimental music listener and so, songs that make me feel something are the songs I appreciate the most. Rarely do I enjoy music I can’t relate to, and I actively despise songs that have nothing to say. What does that have to do with Under Red Skies’ latest release, Plummet, featuring none other than Duncan Bentley of Vulvodynia.
Well, everything. But to explain that, I have to give you some back story. Bear with me.
I hate admitting this, but… I have struggled with severe depression (and anxiety, and an entire rainbow of psychological and personality disorders). The last two years of my life have been some sort of existential Hell, to the point that for months — though I didn’t contemplate or attempt anything — I wanted to stop existing. Recently, these intrusive thoughts and feelings flared and escalated. I had breakdown after breakdown after breakdown, and the railway line around the corner began to seem like a wonderful place for a nap.
I am okay now, but I wasn’t for a long, long time. What made it worse was that I felt as though no one understood or related to the agony I was in.
And so we get to Plummet, a song that includes lyrics like:
“My sanity has once again failed me”
“I feel so fucked up I can barely function”
“I never knew life would be more terrifying than death”
And most importantly, “I don’t want to feel the way I fucking do”.
I went into this song thinking it would be just another day on the job. Instead, I had these guys reach in to my soul, find the parts of it I’ve locked away, and then crush them.
Excuse me, Sirs, how dare?
How dare you write a song so glaring, so excruciating, and so desperately important? How dare you take such taboo and wrap it up so beautifully? How dare you say the words I was too dysfunctional to comprehend or express, so concisely and so blatantly?
Refer to my opening statement. Emotive music is my favorite music. Plummet is undoubtedly worthy of that title. Both the lyrics and composition are heart wrenching. The track is uncomfortable in the best way, as metal should be. And the message — that you can’t possibly gauge how much seemingly normal people are suffering inside — is one that I appreciate with my whole heart.
I warn you that it may hurt to listen to, especially if you’re not feeling okay. It has highly triggering content, so proceed with caution. That said, though it’s not particularly conventional to describe deathcore this way, this song is beautiful.
I’m not crying. You’re crying.