Underoath returns much stronger
Considering the fact that Florida natives and poster child "metalcore" act Underoath has seen a lot of turmoil in the past few years, one would have expected this band to see its demise. Despite almost breaking up because of substance abuse, the band has seen its share of drama. However, it managed to see those problems through and is riding the waves of a sixth studio release, Lost in the Sound of Separation.
Prior to the album’s release, interviews with the band increased anticipation for it, deeming it heavier than previous releases. Overall, the material is much darker, as members have written songs about unsettling phases in their lives. The group has successfully found a sound that sits well with the average listener, combining the more accessible pop sound from 2004’s They’re Only Chasing Safety and 2006’s Define the Great Line. The latter album is considered Underoath’s crowning achievement, following it up would be the sextet’s biggest challenge.
Lost in the Sound of Separation begins with "Breathing in a New Mentality," and vocalist Spencer Chamberlain’s growl hits immediately. The repetition of the line "I’m so desperate, you’re the savior" is the type of urgency that will assumingly be the blueprint of this album.
Tracks like "The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed" and "We Are The Involuntary" show that Underoath has not missed a step, growing sonically in almost every sense.
One of Define the Great Line’s biggest slip-ups was the lack of incorporation of the electronics and synthesizer effects found on previous albums. However, keyboardist Christopher Dudley seems to have worked these sounds back into the band.
On the other hand, songs such as "A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine" and "Too Bright to See, Too Loud to Hear" could have been b-sides to They’re Only Chasing Safety, embracing the more user-friendly side of Underoath.
The production team of Adam Dutkiewicz and Matt Goldman, both of whom worked on Define The Great Line, picked up where they left off, utilizing their ability to take Underoath’s sound, highlight and transform it into cinematic soundscapes.
The members seems to grow into their instruments more and more with every release. The electronics are tighter, the vocals are more diverse and the guitar and bass work has also improved. The drumming, however, is still the most impressive aspect of the band.
Underoath is one of the few "metalcore" bands capable of breaking into the mainstream and this is evident with its certified gold status of Define the Great Line.
Unfortunately, the unmistakable Christian influence in the group’s music, as well as a good portion of its fanbase could turn an unknowing listener away. For a band in this position, attempting to be more secular could be greatly beneficial. However, the group is probably OK with the fact that it has released yet another remarkable album.
Lost in the Sound of Separation was released Sept. 2 on Tooth and Nail/Solid State Records.