Review Summary: It's all in the way I say what I don't mean and mean what I don't.
Christian metalcore 6-piece Underoath are one of the biggest bands in the current metalcore scene, and Lost In The Sound of Separation
(their much anticipated follow-up to 2006’s Define The Great Line) justifies their position at the top. Album opener ‘Breathing in a New Mentality’ sets the pace, opening up with some drum fills and Spencer’s brand of throaty screaming, until a flurry of riffs and licks kick up the intensity – an intensity which never lets up throughout the album’s 42 minutes.
The band has tightened up their sound a lot and the instrumentation is better than ever, with the lead and rhythm guitarists laying down some seriously heavy riffs, whilst calling the rhythm section merely competent would be a huge undersell. In fact, the ending of ‘A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine’ is one of the best passages that Underoath have ever written, with the epic riffing and pounding rhythm section amalgamating to perfectly complement Spencer and Aaron’s vocals, and create something truly moving. And on the topic of Spencer’s vocals, they have improved exponentially, and his trade-off of screams for clean vocals pays off, as the album is catchier and more accessible than their past efforts. This is most notable on ‘The Created Void’, where the ominous and sometimes regretful mood of the song is matched by Spencer’s emotional and heartfelt vocals, especially in the sections towards the end, where his clean singing is intelligently layered over some clean electric guitar strumming.
With this shift in vocal work also comes a shift in the heavy/ambient aesthetic that Underoath write into their songs so well, and on Lost in the Sound of Separation
, there is a greater focus on the ambience and less on the heavy. While this does detract somewhat from the intensity and pure emotion of their past records, it does increase the focus of this one and is a logical progression of the band’s sound. Take, for example, ‘The End is Near’, where the band builds-up from a heavy section to some ambience, only to double take and enter into a groovy section where the bass and drums take prominence. The band then builds on this section as well, and the song progresses seamlessly until its epic finale.
Underoath’s use of interplay between heavy and clean sections prevent the album from getting boring, and Lost in the Sound of Separation
displays everything that sets Underoath above their scene peers; the technicality of their songwriting, the intensity of the tracks and the earnestness of their lyrics. Recommended.