Review Summary: "Metalcore Thrice" is flying under the radar and stomping the ground.Underminded
Nick Martin - Lead Vocals/Guitar
Matt Johnson - Guitar/Vocals
Brandon Cardwell - Bass/Vocals
Tanner Wayne - Drums/Vocals
Produced, Engineered, And Mastered By Paul Miner
Original Release Date: 08/07/2007
Label As Produced: Uprising Records
Underminded is a metal core band straight out of California that delivers the utmost sincere politically influenced lyrics. “Hail Unamerican!” quickly became an underground hit with today’s scene of chugging guitars, intricate time changes, and brash vocals. This is one of the only bands that I know that goes against the cliché. This band may be labeled metal core but really have a more hardcore influence then metal part to it. Yes, you will taste a lot of fast licks that would fit in the metal genre so don’t get scared just yet, but group vocals, chanting, and chugging seems to all fit into a united hardcore effort. One of the things that I like most about this band is their solidity of music. They don’t leave one instrument or vocal piece behind and if that wasn’t already presented with “Hail Unamerican!”, they furthermore concrete it with “Eleven:Eleven”. Think along the lines of a blend of Thrice - Paper Tigers, Silhouette, and T&C. This is truly that angry version of Thrice and using a word like anger is emphasized through lyrics. The political message is pretty clear that these guys don’t like the way things are going right now for our country. Without further adieu, the in-depth answers and questions to Eleven:Eleven…
The thing that you need to expect with an open mind when listening to this album that it’s relentless. The band keeps up a high pace of velocity as soon as the first song “Enfermeria, Part III: The Recovery”, transitions into “Ya Basta”. The 1st song off the album is an introduction that builds up from below and comes out at you with a blitzed attack into the 2nd song. The thing that was most pleasing to me was the fast pacing and hardness of this album. It never really lets up except for one interlude that really quiets down. This type of album will keep your head bobbing to the last outro and for the most part want to break stuff. The guitar playing is solid and technical when it wants to be
. I say when it wants to be because a lot of the time it resorts to chugging breakdowns or a lot of chord dissonance. This is the hardcore aspect of Underminded and you can expect a whole lot of chants and screams through all breakdowns. Every so often it comes up that the guitar wants to go out of the norm and flies through a scale that brinks the metal part of “metal-core”. It doesn’t happen as much as I like unfortunately, but when it does it’s much appreciated to the listener. The drums is what really stands out to be on this album. Crazy time changes that border bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, and some fresh drum patterns really keep things in motion. Against the cliché the double bass is kept to a minimum but when it’s their it’s a machine gun. The bass is not absent like in many other bands in this genre. Even though it follows the root of the guitar playing, it veers off every so often to do it’s own thing. It’s punchy when it wants to be and has a lot of low end kick during the breaks.
The vocals and lyrics of this album are in one word, harsh. The lead singers scream is more like a gruff, low end, yell. The group vocals are what you can expect in any hardcore band that are like choir boys chanting. The lyrics on this album follow suite with the music being relentless. “Ya Basta” has a line that reads “Beg for your life, you ***”. Other lines are also not afraid to drop F-bomb’s and other words that we are taught in Sunday School not to speak of. In a way I think the usage of these words make the album seem so much more personal and angry. Most lyrics have political undertones to them, but other songs touch on things like the music industry, and dreaded girls. “Now excuse me bitch” is my personal favorite lyric, just to let it be known.
Track’s that stand out to me are “Ya Basta”, “Lords & Wolves”, “In Complacement Glass Cannons”, and “The Chancellor”. Let it be known that all of the songs off of this album would sound amazing in a live setting. I have a bias to hardcore type bands on records that they can’t pack the intensity that they bring to live shows but this album proves that wrong. “Ya Basta” is the first song that really gets the ball rolling and it hit’s the listener with all 5 knuckles right to the heart (or maybe head?). The guitar chugs and the drum fills are quite creative while the guitar churns away. The lyrics are simple enough to understand the message to and one of the things about this screamer is that you can understand every word that comes out of his mouth. I believe there’s a point behind that. “Beg for your life, you ***”. “Lords & Wolves” is the first single off of “Eleven:Eleven” and with good reason. Once again the drums on this song caught my ear. The time changes in the verses really made me want to dance. The vocals are at their peak in this song bordering brutality and a sense of sincerity through pain. Probably my favorite song on the album. “In Complacent Glass Cannons” is a song that has that cliché metal core southern sound to it. The drums pounds away and the guitar creates a lot of ambience fills. The only slow part on the album is during this song too which is a pleasant change of slow-mo. “The Chancellor” is a song that I like mostly for the bass line and how it drifts away from the rest of the band more than the other songs. The build up in the chorus is class. The chanting really brings me back to the old school Comeback Kid days as well.
…Ending in Secret Engagement
This is an album that hit me upside the head hard. I really didn’t know what to expect but I thought it’d be more metal than it was hardcore but that was a direct opposite. This is an album that gets me pumped when I want to work out. The vocals and the drum work on this album made this album great in my mind. The vocals don’t sound like an overproduced horny Atreyu kid on steroids/distortion. They sound real
. At times it even emotionally kicks me in the nuts when the lead singer holds out some of his screams. I wish more bands followed such suite. The lyrics aren’t any flashy rhyme sonnets that people will be speaking of for years to come but they get the point across pretty clearly. And if you weren’t listening the first time the curse words just stand out for more emphasis for me. The drum patterns are creative and innovative. For once in this genre a drummer can be the backbone for a band and more. For all of you As I Lay Dying fans, the double bass is going to feel absent for you but he finds other ways to floor the listener. I was disappointed somewhat by the guitar work during this album but it definitely wasn’t a sore point. If anything they are still above most of the other bands in the game if you really want to know. If you’re into something fresh, or just looking for more things to dance to I highly recommend this album. It definitely was a pleasant surprise for me and a worthy sequel to a struggling band.
- Could of used more diversity in between songs.