Underoath and the Changing of the Guard
After eight years of radiowave silence, Underoath has returned with a new album. “Erase Me,” the group’s new eleven track LP takes the band in a different direction than albums past. On a whole, the band utilizes more electronic tracking components to their music than they did in albums past. This distorted, dreamy sound has some fans justifiably irked. As is the case with any metal album release, there are is an epic quantity of angry men expressing their opinions about the band’s new sound on the internet. Let’s get down to the track by track analysis and see if we can agree or defend neck beard album reviews or dismiss them like we should be dismissing these reviewers’ garbage attempts at facial hair.
The album opens up with “It Has To Start Somewhere.” Creating an album with this track seems like a cheap attempt at humor based upon title alone. The track, however, delivers a punch dripping with strong vocals and heavy percussion. Lyrically the song can be a bit redundant, but in a catchy way.
“Rapture,” has a Top 40 rock track feel to it. I predict that this will continue to get good airtime on any half decent radio station focused on rock worth its weight in Metallica albums. Again we see a catchy song that sounds a bit over the top on studio editing, but will probably pull in a new era of Underoath fans that prefer radio rock.
As a listener, I woke up at the next track, “On My Teeth,” which provides a refreshing break in over processed sound. There are plenty of digital affects to be found, however, “On My Teeth,” provides raw vocal stylings that the first two tracks of the album lack.
Unfortunately I napped through, “Wake Me,” and, “Bloodlust,” which come across as fairly standard rock ballads without a stand-out factor.
“Sink With You,” offers an upbeat variant of what seems to be the band’s new style, providing an aggregation of interesting electronic layers in addition to raw vocals and heavy percussion. This particular track pushed me forward through the album, interested in seeing what the group had to offer next.
Perhaps if placed elsewhere in the album, “ihateit,” would be more of an attention grabber, but this track has simplified lyrics and sounds like something a college kid wrote in rehab. Yes, dare I say it, “I hate it.”
The aggressive and upbeat “Hold Your Breath,” has a lot to offer listeners interested in the bands roots. The song has build, sustained momentum, and intrigue, making it one of the best of the collection in this listeners’ opinion.
“No Frame,” reflects the heavy overtone of industrial sound effects placed throughout “Erase Me.” This new style is a bit more artistic and compelling in this track, mixed with eerie vocal interludes and some bold lyricism. In terms of tracks that best reflect the new direction the band seems to be taking, “No Frame,” should be what listeners refer to when rediscovering the band.
“In Motion,” is yet another track that seems like it will get good radio rotation, offering a strong vocal performance with pulsing beats, but nothing particularly unique.
The LP ended with, “I Gave Up,” which is how I felt halfway through the track. Perhaps if cut a bit length-wise, this track would prove to be more successful, but on a whole delivered another sampling of the industrial rock sound Underoath seems to be marketing.
Neck beards, behold, I will give you partial credit. This album isn’t anything spectacular, and we have seen much better work out of Underoath. HOWEVER, the band is taking risks in breaking into a new sound. They experimented and created several successful individual tracks within the album that balanced the ones that were not so compelling. If I were a number-rankings-type girl, I would probably give this album a 6/10, with the strong tracks driving that rating. As a listener, I am looking forward to seeing what direction this group heads and anticipate them either doubling back to a style that fans found palatable, or exploring a new musical world.