Review Summary: An excellent effort by Unearth, going further on the road leading from the dead-end called "metalcore"
Some things are as sure as the amen in church. You just know how certain things are, and what to expect from them. As it seems, Unearth
fit in there quite well. If you can count on one thing with this lot, then that they do the things they start right and straight forward. And it's the same with their newest album, and it might possibly be the best thing they have written so far. First things first though, so let us go through this step by step.
It's been about two years since Unearth's
last studio output 'III: In The Eyes Of Fire'
. Along with producer Terry Date
the band ventured into more thrashy regions of their sound, and although this fitted the development of their own sound quite well, something still felt amiss. Overall the album fell behind the others the band presented so far. With Killswitch Engage
-guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz
back on the producer's seat, the quintett from Boston wants to set this right with their winning team. After all, Dutkiewicz
produced almost all of their albums to date.
Current interviews with the band give a clear impression what the main topic of all the songs is on 'The March'
: living on the end of what modern capitalism brought us today. This does not mean that this is a concept record in the classic sense, but the stress is definately on what the aftermath of the current economic events worldwide could be - all presented in a destructive and pessimistic, as well as a hopefull and optimistic view. As usual all this is presented by vocalist Trevor Phipps
, who does a routine like job. The shouting is not very diverse, but most people would have expected that anyway. Some of the songs feature almost spoken parts and gang shouts that give some change in the vocal area. Very good example of the former is the chorus to 'Hail The Shrine'
, which has a very fluid transition from spoken to shouted vocals. Overall a very good performance, which only real shortcoming is the lack of variety.
In very strong contrast to this are the guitar lines of Buz McGrath
and Ken Susi
. From the first seconds of the opener 'My Will Be Done'
the make clear what to expect: a low and chugging riff below a sometimes doubled tapping melody speak for their own, if not the solo later on in this song should clear everything up guitar-wise. One could name quite a few examples, but in a nutshell: they hrow everything at you they have to offer. The rythm-section with bassist John "Slo" Maggard
and drummer Derek Kerswill
pushes the whole thing forward relentlessly. Accents set by the drums are placed well and are nice to hear, but when compared to other bands, this part just falls behind. On the other hand, with the guitars all over tha place, it would not help the songs if the drums and bass would do the same. So in the end, this works better the way it is.
Where there is light, there is at least a little shadow somewhere. And it's not different with this record. What one will notice after a few spins is that quite a few of the songs start very similar. They are not absolutely identical but already similar enough that it is noticed in a bad way. Good examples for this are 'Hail The Shrine'
, 'We Are Not Anonymous'
, 'The March'
or 'Letting Go'
. The rythm and emphasis are just too much of the same to work well so many times. As the songs themselves have a lot to offer, it's strange that they they trimmed the bginnings of the songs so much down. Overall the songs display good songwriting and leave a thought through impression. Good example for this is 'We Are Not Anonymous'
, which can be streamed on the bands MySpace page for a while now.
One thing this record displays very clearly: Unearth
succesfully work on a transition from the fading genre metalcore to something more relevant. 'The March'
displays a clear metal edge opposed to the more metalcore-based sound of former days. Sure, there are still some breakdown-like passages and the obvious mosh parts, overall the songs show a clear and developing style though. This album is modern metal that has most, if not all you could wish for: relentless riffs moving forward, taking turns with hymn like melodies, raspy vocals and crazy guitar work finding their way straight to your head, where something might be missing on one end, it is made up for that on other spots ten fold. To sum it, this is probably the best the band has put ou so far, and will probably be the new reference for their upcoming work. If this can be pushed even more with the next release is to be seen, but until then one can have a good time with 'The March'