By the late 1970’s the band Joy Division had developed a sound and style that made them one of the pioneers of the post-punk movement. However as the band’s popularity and critical acclaim grew, the personal life of the lead singer Ian Curtis was deteriorating with failed relationships, depression and epilepsy. On the eve of Joy Division’s first American tour in May 1980, Ian Curtis committed suicide at the age of 23. Two months later, the sullen and prophetic “Love Will Tear Us Apart” single was released and has proven timeless. Fast forward to 2017 where the love is long gone while the tearing has sharpened to ripping and shredding.
Ian Curtis’s suicide showed the duality of the outer world and inner emotion while triggering new genres like post-punk, cold wave and shoegaze in the 1980’s that has deeply influenced Krakow’s music project undertheskin. It is the solo work of Mariusz Łuniewski, also known as Void, who is well known in the goth rock scene. With undertheskin, he created an uncompromised work by personally playing all the instruments which include malicious bass, menacing guitars, powerful synths and mechanical drum machines. The counterpoint is the cold, numb vocals.
Listening to undertheskin’s new single “BURN” is like going on a fast drive through hell in an ice capsule. The audioscape is a burning inferno in a screeching nightmare with bouts of terror, oppression, and evil with darkness illuminated by flames. The only way to survive in such a world is to be emotionless and frozen on the inside, like being dead and this detached nature fills the vocals. Many individuals have not been able to cope with such a condition. But the real nihilist does not want sympathy.
Don’t pray for me, I don’t care
Don’t pray for me, while I burn.
Undertheskin’s song burns in two directions: aggression and apathy. First, is from the scalding temperature of the music. Second, is Void’s voice, which burns with an icy coldness like the pain of standing naked alone at night in freezing temperatures, burning, and then becoming numb.