Underoath
The Changing of Times

Although this five-piece from Florida is new to me – apparently they have two other releases out. Not sure if those first two matter or not, but their newest one, on Solid State Records, is definitely a double take of an album if there ever was one. And I’m not just speaking of terms of, “it’s soooo cool I did a double take,” as much as I mean this album is perplexingly original, thus leaving a confused look on my face.

These guys are similar to Grade and bands of that type, maybe a little more metalish, but then they throw in a keyboard! We’re talking everything from samples, to straight out of the ’80s cheesy synth sounds to even lush orchestra and piano pieces. No stone is unturned with keyboardist Christopher Dudley. Each track has been spiced up by his clever keyboard additions, and for the most part they work; they aren’t just laid down over top of everything else, they actually contribute. Albeit, sometimes they are harder to swallow, but the majority of the time the keyboard pieces prove to making the listen all the more interesting. Case in point, track six “Angel Below” has a broad cut of the spectrum keyboard-wise.

So their sound is definitely melodic, and enters the chugga-chugga realm frequently too. I’m reminded of Haste’s latest CD, When Reason Sleeps, often. The vocals are sung very well, and screamed/shouted in typical metalcore fashion; it’s about a 40/60 ratio for clean and shouted vocals, respectively. A track that should give the listener plenty of reason to check these guys out is track eight, “Short of Daybreak,” all the elements are here and they are executed awesomely. Same thing with the next track, “Alone in December,” except this track is all about emotion and melody (piano and lush synth), quite a driving track with a slower pace to drape all of its dense emotion over the listener. Another standout cut is track three, “A Message For Adrienne,” which is a fangs-out metal attack of the aural kind.

Of course the drawback to Underoath is that some of their songs seem put together in a haphazardly way. Things will downshift right when you’re rocking out to a riff or getting lost in a melody. Come on guys, if you’re kicking your listener’s ass one way or another keep kicking it or steer it in a new direction, otherwise it feels anti-climactic. Like, you’re on fair-ride that just started only to have it suddenly stop or turn into a weak merry-go-round. I like The Changing of Times, and I’m anxiously curious to hear their next effort. If Underoath capitalizes on all the good points they’ve laid ground with on, The Changing of Times, then we are all in for a treat.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Stacy Buchanan
February 26th, 2002

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