Saturday, July 17, 2004

Underoath- (They're Only Chasing Safety)

Hardcore, Metalcore, Fashioncore, Emocore, why do we bother? Everybody is doing the same thing to different degrees of masculinity, so let's can it with the labels shall we? Here I give you Florida's own Underoath. About two years ago they made it very big in the "hardcore" scene with their release, "The Changing of Times" on Solidstate records. Their piercing, and tumultuous brand of black metal influenced hardcore filled with haunting keyboards and pummeling breakdowns was as convincingly emotional as it was unrelenting. Once more, added to that, they were....(gasp)christian.

Lead singer Dallas and his demon growl set them above and apart from other bands in the scene, because for some reason you felt the conviction in their words. For "personal" reasons, however, Dallas left the group last year. After a rigorous touring schedule with fil-in frontmen, and friends from other bands doing them favors, Underoath finally found what they were looking for.

In comes Spencer with some very large shoes to fill. It was no secret that "They're Only Chasing Safety" for better or worse, would become the defining album in Underoath's young career. I don't mind telling you that in almost every aspect this album delivers.

It is immediatly obvious that Spencer is a far more accessible front man than Dallas was. He most certainly has a more attune sensibility towards pop vocals, while still packing the distinct punch that Underoath have always needed. The music here is far more simply structured than the band has ever composed, and for that reason you will hear the term "sellout" being tossed around, I'm sure. However, when a band can create music this technically sound, and turn into something so compulsively listenable, you can call them anything you want.

So call them emo, call them hardcore, call them sellouts, but the bottom line is that in a time when every band seems to be doing the same thing, Underoath just happens to do it the best.

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