STYLE: Hard Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 102504-17620 LABEL: Tooth & Nail 5099930825826 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2010-12-06 RRP: £13.00
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
In theory it shouldn't make a huge difference that the last remaining original member has left Underoath. Even though there have been no major changes since vocalist Spencer Chamberlain joined in 2003, this minor alteration has seen the band evolve from their usual screamo territory. Aaron Gillespie (drums and clean vocals) was replaced by a long-standing friend of the band, Daniel Davison, formerly of Norma Jean. This caused angst amongst their fanbase, some of whom couldn't cope with the changes, whilst others were relieved at the removal of Aaron's whiny vocals. This is their fifth full length release and it sees them progressing into darker themes and combines a heavier, chaotic style with more melodic sections. Spencer's talent shines from the start as he showcases the full range of his vocals with growls, screams and clean vocals throughout "In Division". The sombre mood is gripping as he screams "God it's caving in on me/I feel them watching/But no one seems to care anymore/I'm digging my way out/'Cause when I'm breathing there is no release". After the chaotic guitar carnage in "Catch Myself, Catching Myself" there is the barely restrained ambience in "Paper Lung" and the electronic experimentation of "Driftwood". The traditional fans will enjoy "A Divine Eradication" as it will remind them of the band's past glories. In "Who Will Guard The Guardians" they also question the current spiritual state of the nations "There is no more running, there is no more escaping/If only God could lay his hands down on this barren land and wake us up/'Cause we are the lost, we are the helpless, we are the forgotten ones/We are the lost and we are the abandoned". Towards the end they try out their fusion of Underoath meets Norma Jean's soundscapes in "Vacant Mouth" and "My Deteriorating Incline". There is a deliberate intention to evolve whilst also trying not to alienate their legion of fans. Consequently, this release has the feeling of having one foot in the past and one foot in the future.
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For the six men in Underoath, whose members have evolved and thrived during a decade-long progression that has elevated them into one of heavy music’s biggest successes, change has been ubiquitous.
2010 has been no exception for the Tampa-based sextet, who underwent and overcame what many consider their most significant line-up alteration yet. In doing so, Underoath experienced an artistic rebirth in the form of Ø (Disambiguation). The band has delivered an album that emphatically surpasses, in terms of craftsmanship and cohesion. Ø (Disambiguation) is Underoath’s new creative high watermark. The band’s triumphant fifth album.