Brisbane heavies UNI/VS release their sophomore EP Smile on 27th October. The release follows on from Deaths Door, and “Upside Down”, both released last year. On the eve of Smile‘s release, UNI/VS are today sharing brand new track and video “Hell/Me”, which we are proud to exclusively share with you!
After an eerie scene-setting introduction, “Hell/Me” immediately brings riff complexity and a looming sense of darkness. Layered vocals, and melodic lightness with strong guitar has the track emotionally morph between distant thoughtfulness and aggressive closeness. This seems to reflect a to-and-fro, in-and-out dynamic of an inner struggle, where attempts to break free are foiled, and objective grips upon reality are blurred. The clean chorus barely gets a moment to let loose before a hectic verse crashes back down upon the listener with slamming heaviness and complexity, much like the weight of a fixation that one can’t break free of.
The stunning lyric “I’ve tried to lock you in, but you always leave”, shares a desperate and suppressed voice reaching out for a possibility aside from the inner prison of emotional undernourishment that they’re enduring; filling voids with poisons. Desperation evolves into seeking hell, a negative interaction, anything at all. They crave an obsessive and immersive ‘love’ that also tortures. It all sums up a strong theme of toxicity and addiction which is brilliantly expressed in the music video by Third Eye Visuals.
UNI/VS shared that they had sought to have something ‘visually interesting’ as opposed to the standard idea of a band playing in a location, intermixed with a narrative. “So we decided to mix the performance and narrative together and try take the viewers on a journey through the song.” This sees the vocalists of UNI/VS in full acting mode, as they go through experiences in the video… for better or worse.
The video content is intense and dark, and UNI/VS wanted it to be so. The band are very clear to say that they don’t endorse drug or substance abuse, only using the concept as a powerful visual metaphor of the inner workings of someone fixated upon something damaging. They wanted to bring the internal struggle to life with the unsettling and confronting visual, and the video is full to the brim with metaphorical representations of mental and emotional conditions. For example, the dark figure reflects personal demons, and the confines of the wheelchair and straight jacket represent the mental and emotional trappings of addiction. They also use death to visually represent consequences of addiction forming one’s identity, and visual effects to represent what the effects of substances are.
With “Hell/Me” centring around addiction, it’s a track that can be taken on by the listener depending on their own circumstance and challenges; whether they are addicted to/fixated upon a toxic person, environment, or substance. With the release of Smile, UNI/VS have taken deeply personal stories and imbued them through dark and dynamic tracks. Check out “Hell/Me” below, and find Smile at all your favourite streaming places tomorrow!
UNI/VS are Scott Willis (vocals), Michael Ryan (guitar/vocals), Steven French (bass), and Nik Sudweeks (drums).