Lost in the Sound of Separation
Posted September 05, 2008
You know how people get all giddy and buy their one year old baby the cliched 'Baby's 1st Tool Kit!' in all it's plastic glory with a little tool belt? Well this is 'Mike's 1st Metalcore CD', a monumental occasion to be sure! It's true, I've taken the plunge into a genre I used to all but ignore. And you know what? I'm glad I did even though I sometimes came up gasping for air.
Given that rather pretentious introduction this should let you know my review will be quite a bit different from others. Most people who have bought this CD have experienced Underoath with an earlier album or, at the very least, explored this genre to some extent. Not me. I've only heard a song here or there by hardcore bands and never a full album. Maybe that's why I found this to be particularly fresh and exciting.
When I began looking to expand my taste into 'Metalcore' I noticed a lot of bands sound the same and few stood out. There's something about what Underoath did with their single 'Desperate Times, Desperate Measures' that stood out to me enough to pre-order the album with a nifty T-Shirt. The singing of Aaron and Spencer (yes, even him) had a beautiful harmony that just wouldn't leave my mind. I was all the more intrigued when I found out Aaron pulled off that impressive singing while he did that amazing drum work.
Whether you are an Underoath fan or not, be ready for some atmospheric music and experimentation. I also know that I'm not the only one getting Pink Floyd vibes when the band harmonizes in 'A Fault Line, a Fault of Mine' or 'We Are The Involuntary'. Even so, there does seem to be a common structure in a few of the songs. After your ears have been brutalized they calm everything down for some great singing. It's a brief breather before a full on assault on your ear drums commences via Spencer's guttural screams. Honestly, it could get a bit repetitive if they didn't do a great job of mixing the synth and guitars to change things up and create a new atmosphere. It should also be said that all but the last two songs are brutally heavy. Those two are phenominal in their own ways and I think I heard some strings on the closer.
On my second listen I decided to read the lyrics as I was going through each song to get a better grasp on what was going on. The result? It all made more sense. You can say it's a concept album of sorts as the lyrics center around Spencer's struggle with an addiction and how it shook the band. Make no mistake, this album is dark both musically and lyrically. I normally hate this but the honesty and passion that comes from the lyrics and Spencer's screaming makes you feel his fight. Plus, it's not all without a message of hope as the emotional closing track claims:
'And I swear I found something
I found hope, I found God
I found the dreams of the believers
the dreams of the believers'
People who have been down a similar road are going to relate to this album and those that are struggling just might be uplifted to change. You may not expect Underoath to make a worship album but they are still creating music with a good purpose. That's how they impact people's lives and if it's for the better, who are we to complain?
Gems of this album are: 'Desperate Times, Desperate Measures', 'We Are the Involuntary', 'Emergency Broadcast/The End Is Near'
Overall - 9.4/10
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