The Return of Audioshards

Hello to all that have stumbled upon this humble little blog. I’m Niveous and I’m back. I took a couple of days off from blogging due to my recent move to New York and a ton of happenings at work. But now I’m back and I’m going to do some things a little different around here, just to ensure that I have more content. My old blog 10kdays (10kdays.livejournal.com), I would write one post about music each day. I figure I was able to do that for over a 1000 posts, I could do the same sort of thing here. So, keep looking at the blog each day and there will be something different.

Today, here’s a cross post from another site that I have begun working with Cupcake Goth. Here is my review of the new album by Underoath:

%C3%98Band: Underoath
Album: Ø (Disambiguation)
Label: Tooth and Nail
Release: November 9, 2010

The band Underoath has earned its share of detractors. There are a multitude of reasons. They came onto the musical landscape early in the 00’s and were lumped by many into the emo genre, in part to their dual vocalist style and their appearances on the Warped Tour. They have also been lumped into the Christian Rock scene due to the band member’s faith. Neither of these labels truly apply to Underoath. They aren’t singing about Jesus and their music is far harder than the Jimmy Eat World’s and Taking Back Sunday’s that inhabit the mainstream emo scene. Underoath at its core is a metal band and their seventh album Ø (Disambiguation) makes that fact undeniable. I think it’s time for the detractors to take another look at Underoath.

Ø (Disambiguation) marks the first album without singer/drummer Aaron Gillespie, who has gone off to front acoustic Christian band The Almost. With a new lineup in place, including former Norma Jean drummer Daniel Davison, Underoath’s sound has changed and grown considerably darker. There were times in my listening to this album where I found myself comparing Underoath’s aggression to bands like Slipknot. On other songs, they found a way to channel a dark atmosphere on their songs comparable to the Deftones or Tool. It’s all a far stretch from songs like their breakout hit “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door”. It’s a band reborn and I like this band’s new direction.
The album’s opening track “In Division” sets the table by starting with eerie keyboards before lead singer Spencer Chamberlain unleashes a vocal fury. With Davison’s blistering drumwork, the energy of the band has changed. There was a certain precision to previous Underoath songs. “In Division” is less about creating a balance, it’s moreso unleashing the band’s raw energy. That energy carries over into “Catch Myself Catching Myself”, a song which includes a NIN/Filter-esque breakdown with Chamberlain in hushed tones singing “I’m not the same anymore”, a statement that could be the mantra of this entire album.

The highlights of the album include the moody “Paper Lung”, which may be one of the album’s most tame songs but it’s a song filled with strong guitar work and one of Chamberlain’s best vocal performances of his career proving he could handle the clean vocals aspects he didn’t do while under Gillespie. Chamberlain’s grittier vocals also get a chance to shine on the album. On “A Divine Eradication”, the band finds its most powerful groove. As Chamberlain growls “where is my fix”, Davison and bassist Grant Brandell build a heavy foundation for the two guitarists to layer sheets and sheets of sonic chaos. It all comes together to make one of the best songs on the album.

Ø (Disambiguation) is not a perfect record. It does lose some steam towards the end with more generic songs at the end. “My Deteriorating Incline” and “Vacant Mouth” both lack the power of the previous songs while album closer “In Completion” spends too much meandering in their old sound. It may have its flaws but it remains an album that I would highly recommend. This is the start of a new sound for Underoath and I look forward to the opportunity to hear more.

4/5

Check out a live video of Underoath doing “Paper Lung”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atuLIc3Bns4

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