Highly anticipated, highly requested, and bound to be highly judged, Underoath has finally released their comeback album. The band has gone through a lot of changes, from band members leaving, to some returning, reunion tours, personal problems, and the ultimate change of all – the passing of time. With a career spanning a little over two decades, it’s hard to think that Underoath wouldn’t evolve. The question is – have fans changed with them?
Releasing both “Rapture“ and “On My Teeth“ as singles off the album, reviews were mixed. “Rapture“ was said to be a very radio friendly song, and not very Underoath like, while “On My Teeth” caused a controversy with the Christian fan base, who saw the once labelled Christian band – they haven’t been since 2009 – abandoning the precedent of curse word free songs they set in decades past when they used one swear word in the third line of the song, but did prove otherwise to still be musically weird, strange, and very much the band’s style. So with these things in mind, the rest of the album is something some are looking forward to, while others may be wondering have they gone too far and will there be more cussing. The truth is, the album is a good mixture of both metal songs that fans will enjoy, while newcomers, who may not like screaming and heavy music, may find something they like as well. And for the Christian fan base out there – the album contains one fuck – total.
Starting with “It Has to Start Somewhere”, the song begins with a low synth vibe, while drums and guitar randomly come in over it, giving off the feeling that the band has just entered the studio and is warming up before they blow your eardrums out. The song starts and lead singer Spencer Chamberlain joins in with his awesome voice, singing, “if my tongue is the blade, then your head is the gun, one of us ain’t going home tonight”. It’s a powerful opening and shows they are just getting started. Better keep listening.
Next is “Rapture“, which as mentioned before, has been met with some disappointment from long-time fans of Underoath. Opening with heavy synths and going into drums and guitar, it’s definitely got a more radio-friendly, catchy tune about it, with some really cool synths in the back reminiscent of late 90’s rock songs, although Underoath focuses on the drums and guitar more throughout the track.
After “Rapture” comes the super controversial, one swear word song “On My Teeth”. Again, the synths are great, adding such an edgy, unfinished in a good way, rough vibe as the drums go into double time and Chamberlain gives us his fearsome scream/sing voice. Sad to think that a single swear word could take people’s focus away from the amazing drumming by Aaron Gillespie and structure and melody that these seasoned musicians have put into the track.
Taking a moment to slow it down, “Wake Me”, is fast in tempo but stripped down a bit with more classic drum patterns and a piano focus. Chamberlain and Gillespie really shine on the track, their voices harmonizing beautifully at parts.
“Bloodlust” starts out with some great soft drums and synths, giving it a drum and bass feel without the bass. My favorite lyric happens early on when Gillespie sings, “But I retrace steps to retrace steps, I just retrace step to retrace step.” It’s repetitive and beautifully sung. As the chorus hits, the drums pick up and guitar and bass enter, giving again that heavy rock feel.
“Sink With Me” has a great synth opening, with drums that build, ominous voices kind of distorted in the background. Going between heavier parts and respites before the chorus, the drums really shine on this track.
The title may be “Ihateit” but I love it. A slow open, Chamberlain sings with back vocals by Gillespie. The chorus hits and the guitar takes center, as Chamberlain sings, “You’re the only thing that gets me high and I hate it”. It’s a powerful song about the struggle addictions cause within a person’s life.
Getting back into a more fast pace, heavy metal feeling, “Hold Your Breath” begins with some distorted rough synths, and then leads straight into the drums, guitar and screaming. It’s fast, it’s easy to headbang to and will get mosh pits going when Underoath goes on tour in April.
“No Frame” has great synths as a foundation, with bass holding it in place, as drums play. As the bridge hits, both Gillespie and Chamberlain speak, “Daylight dreaming, Darkness Seeking, there must be some kind of way out of this”, with heavy distortion overlaid, giving their voices an alien-like effect. It gives the song and off the feeling and at the same time, the monotone manner in which they speak gives it an almost monastic tone. The song is a prayer, a mantra to overcome fear and live life.
With two songs left on the album, “In Motion” is classic Underoath rock, going into dense drums and guitar riffs, while “I Gave Up” slows things down for their final song, focusing on a dark piano melody leading into a guitar-heavy chorus.
Overall, the album has great structure and melody and shows that the passing of time does not mean a person gets stuck, but that time gives people space to grow and evolve. They are experimenting, not pigeonholing themselves creatively into any set niche or label, yet still stay true to their roots. Some fans may be upset, seeing this album as too produced or not rough enough, but hopefully, fans have had time to grow just as much as the band has in the past couple of decades.
Underoath’s album “Erase Me” is now available everywhere through Fearless Records. Take a listen, you might find something you didn’t know you’d like.
To purchase the album, click here!