Unearth
Darkness in the Light

Ahhhh… Unearth… one of the pioneers of the modern metalcore scene. Every time these guys come out with a new album it’s like an old friend you haven’t seen in a few years coming to visit – you think they might have changed but you’re hoping not by much. How does this, their fifth full length, compare to that old friend of yours? Pretty damn good.

Thankfully the album foregoes a worthless instrumental opener and kicks right into gear. The first thing that jumps out at you is vocalist Trevor Phipps. He seems extremely motivated on this album and it shows through from the get-go. Dude was probably munching throat drops like Skittles following the recording of this album. But then almost three minutes in you get… what is this? Clean vocals?!? They seem out of place, and to put it bluntly downright whiny. They show up again in track three and those are even worse. It does show these guys willing to expand a little bit, but thankfully they don’t show up too often or hang around too long so it doesn’t threaten to sink an otherwise solid ship.

They get back on track with “Ruination of the Lost”, and continue to pummel in true Unearth style. In addition to their ever present heft, one impressive thing that jumped out listening to this album is that almost every song contained a very well done guitar solo. Like ones that make you double check who you’re listening to. The solo that kicks in at the 2:10 mark of “Last Wish” would be right at home on a Slayer album. There is some seriously good fretwork going on that adds another dimension to their songwriting and further helps to keep genre haters at bay.

And the breakdowns? Oh yes kids, they haven’t forgotten a trademark of the genre they themselves have put a huge stamp on. Besides well placed, but not overdone, mid-song breakdowns, one thing Unearth seems to do better than anyone else is what I can only refer to as the ‘breakdown closer’. A lot of bands will close with a breakdown of about ten or fifteen seconds, but these guys have become masters at stretching one out for thirty seconds or more. Check the ending half-minute to the track “Eyes of Black”. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, if that doesn’t get your head bobbing then you’re probably paralyzed from the neck down.

The album closes in blistering, pissed-off fashion with “Disillusion.” It starts out showing the solid double bass work of drummer Justin Foley (Killswitch Engage) before Phipps and company jump in to really take things up another level. Add in a catchy chorus and a killer breakdown halfway through, and it just tosses gasoline onto an already roaring fire.

Overall this is a very solid addition to the Unearth lineup. Those of you who don’t like the genre won’t jump on the bandwagon now, but if you appreciate those who started it there is a lot to like here. Unearth is not going to make a Morbid Angel-style genre bender – they do what they do best, and they do it better than about ninety percent of their competitors. In my opinion these guys are welcome to show up whenever they want. If anybody’s earned it, they have.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kevin E
June 14th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: jerry

    you and jesse wolf should make out.


  2. Commented by: Stacy B.

    The new record seems to be struggling a bit stylistically (and maybe the band’s identity). Like mentioned in the review, clean vocals? Come on. First time in an Unearth record – and yes, they seem awkward and out of place. Secondly, blastbeats? I know Unearth are known to be “heavy” but on their own terms, not when they’re trying to ape the glut of deathcore bands out there, which is apparently the “vogue” sound these days.

    If not for those obvious grabs for relevancy (deathcore is the new metalcore in all the bad ways), I don’t know if I can tell the difference between the last 3 records from Unearth. Yawn. Give me the new Morbid Angel over this any day.


  3. Commented by: Jesse Wolf

    Awesome review bro. I haven’t really jammed these dudes since The Oncoming Storm. I def need to hear this now though. And Stacy B if you would rather take the new Morbid Angel then these guys. Then well theirs something really wrong with you lol.


  4. Commented by: Reignman35

    Thank you Jesse… Much appreciated.


  5. Commented by: LittleA
  6. Commented by: krustster

    Good analogy at the beginning there. Unearth really is a band that stays mostly the same but in good ways. I’m disappointed to hear that they fell into the clean vocals trap (and that apparently it’s not good) but I’m looking forward to this tape.


  7. Commented by: Reignman35

    Don’t worry Kruster, the clean vocals are bad but are luckily used very sparingly. As I noted it’s only for a short time in track 1 and 3. If you’re a fan definitely check it out.


  8. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Crap band. Absolutely nothing redeeming about them.


  9. Commented by: LongDeadGod

    I still hate this band for helping start the trend of every american band that thinks that they’re metal having an open e-string breakdown, in every song.


  10. Commented by: That's How Kids Die

    I’d imagine Unearth are just trying to evolve with the times a little here… I mean are “the kids” still down with metalcore anymore, or have they all moved on to crabcore, deathcore, turdcore, limpdickcore, etc? I haven’t heard this album and don’t intend to, but these guys have always been solid and competent at what they do, if unspectacular.


  11. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    could never get into these guys. they seem cool as guys, but I just never found much to latch on to here.


  12. Commented by: ERockafella

    LongDeadGone, you clearly know nothing about Unearth if you think they have open e-string breakdowns considering Buz and Ken play 7 string guitars, so how can you hate a band when you know nothing about them? This album is a great album and does relate more to their older stuff than their previous album The March which I still thought was a good album.


  13. Commented by: Denial

    Worst band ever.had one good song on their first ep.originators of nothing


  14. Commented by: titmo71

    what’s wrong with you kiddies,now your putting unearth ahead of morbid angel….sad. im with stacy give me MA over this anyday.


  15. Commented by: LongDeadGod

    @Erockafella, I’m glad you are such a fan that my not liking a band hurt your feelings. kill yourself.


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