Underoath
Act of Depression


2.5
average

Review

by kane USER (11 Reviews)
January 5th, 2009 | 30 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Praise thee ...

Having recently released their sixth full length album Lost in the Sound of Separation to mostly critical acclaim, and before that the highly regarded Define the Great Line, Underoath have seemingly gone from strength to strength. Their current sound is unabashedly metalcore in the vein of Botch or Norma Jean mixed with a more atmospheric and ‘epic’ drive. However, it was 2004’s They’re Only Chasing Safety that had really thrust Underoath into the limelight, mixing a post-hardcore sound with a very much pop approach. It seems almost strange then that before these records Underoath was almost a completely different entity; much more hard hitting and heavy, but also more overtly Christian (more on that later). Deriving their name from ‘somewhere in the Bible’, Underoath formed in 1998 in former vocalist Dallas Taylor’s bedroom somewhere in Tampa, Florida (all whilst still in high school). A year later, having signed to Takehold Recordings, the band released their debut album Act of Depression.

The first thing you notice when listening to this record is the sheer length of some of the songs. Only containing six actual songs and one ‘hidden track’, this still manages to be the longest of all Underoath’s releases - clocking in at just under 56 minutes. However, despite the length of the songs (all between 5 and 10 minutes), this isn’t a progressive record in anyway. In fact, the music is all rather repetitive, hardly ‘progressing’ at all and this is, in fact, one of the albums greatest flaws. When the album contains songs of a certain length it should always switch things around a bit or risk losing the attention of the listener, as is unfortunately the case here. There simply isn’t enough variation. Each and every song follows a pretty much similar formula, with riffs being recycled by the bucket load.

The music itself is much more ‘brutal’ than Underoath’s most recent releases. It is aggressive, heavy and definitely metal. In fact, although hardly innovative, this record was (and is), very much an anomaly in the current metalcore wave. Rather than the traditional scream verse, sing chorus with pretty melodies scattered through the overall metal attack; Underoath here displayed an absolute metal assault on the listener. This is heavy-as-fuck. Not death metal heavy, but a lot more crushing than the majority of the metalcore scene. Dallas Taylor screams his way through the whole album, only occasionally do we hear the use of clean vocals, normally in the form of ‘emotional’ gang vocals about ‘love’ and/or ‘Jesus’.

The album begins with some sort of creepy laughter before charging headfirst into its battle on the listeners senses. As I previously mentioned the guitars are pretty dull here, whilst vocally the band take some getting used to. Dallas’ screams are far from accessible, sounding sometimes almost black metal-esque, although always noticeably a bit on the poor side. It is Gillespie’s drumming that stands out most musically, with some nice fills and improvisation throughout the record; providing the only variation on the album. The production is suitably tinny for such an intense record and, depending on the listener, can increase its power or act as a complete turn off. Lyrically, Act of Depression focuses on pain, emotion and of course, Jesus H. Christ. For example:

I will not accept this evil anymore
I never thought of who I hurt or I never tried to look for the good
I'm sorry for whoever I hurt, it's not easy to look back on my life,
and know I did not know Christ
For now I live in a real hell
I wish I had another chance... then I would live my life with love


In fact, this is a very Christ orientated record. The band themselves dedicated the album to ‘victims of rape and suicide, child molestation, people who are broken hearted, people who just can't handle life anymore and just have to fall on their knees every night and cry’. It’s all very touching. The hidden track itself, for the majority of the nine minutes features Corey Steger (lead guitarist) talking about receiving Christ, becoming a Christian whilst in the background we have Aaron Gillespie singing softly over an acoustic guitar. Afterward is the actual song, ‘Spirit of a Living God’, sung by Corey Steger. It’s possibly advisable then, that if you dislike strongly Christian music you give this a miss.

In all, Act of Depression is not an overly bad record; in fact it is fairly average. It is brought down by its overly long songs with not enough variation to keep the listener interested, resulting in yours truly - by some point midway through track 3 - having fallen into a state of stagnation. It would be fair to say there is little replay value here. On the other hand, there are some positives to be gleaned from the album. It was, as I earlier mentioned, a pretty unique metalcore release, and also shows how it all began for Underoath, and you can definitely see the progression they‘ve made from their rather humble beginnings. Worth a listen for fans of the band.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
gaslightanthem
January 5th 2009


5209 Comments


resubmit!

IAmInsect
January 5th 2009


3800 Comments


good review. what i've heard from this is pretty bad.

Zippermouth
January 5th 2009


1305 Comments


For being christian this should get a 6. lol

gaslightanthem
January 5th 2009


5209 Comments


yes it would get a 6 if it was good but as IAmInsect says this sucks quite a lot of ass

foreverendeared
January 5th 2009


14678 Comments


i can't really stand to listen to anything before The Changing Of Times.

Zippermouth
January 5th 2009


1305 Comments


I can't stand this band.

applesoup
January 5th 2009


36 Comments


i've only heard Heart of Stone off this, me and friend always think that the laugh at the start of it, is from a fat kid's mouth..freaks me out everytime. i don't think this is something i've wanted to listen to before so i doubt i'll listen ever..


gaslightanthem
January 5th 2009


5209 Comments


define --> lost in the sound --> changing of times --> everything else ------------------> chasing safety

gaslightanthem
January 5th 2009


5209 Comments


I can't stand this band.

have you actually listened to either of their newer albums?
i don't think this is something i've wanted to listen to before so i doubt i'll listen ever..

unless you're a hardcore underoath fan i wouldn't bother


foreverendeared
January 5th 2009


14678 Comments


define --> lost in the sound --> changing of times --> everything else ------------------> chasing safety
agreed, although i still do enjoy chasing safety from time to time. i'd put it on par with changing of times as far as enjoyability for me

gaslightanthem
January 5th 2009


5209 Comments


idk guys, i just find chasing safety so bland and lifeless ...at least there's some passion in their earlier records however bad they are

foreverendeared
January 5th 2009


14678 Comments


i like the Used :[

IAmInsect
January 5th 2009


3800 Comments


separation > define > changing of times > cries of the past > act of depression > chasing safety

Wizard
January 5th 2009


19407 Comments


Listening to good music > Underoath

Good review by the way.This Message Edited On 01.05.09

Digging: Khonsu - Traveller

foreverendeared
January 5th 2009


14678 Comments


close minded tisk tisk. nah if you don't like it you dont like it. Define is epic as fuck though, for real

Wizard
January 5th 2009


19407 Comments


That's the only one I can put up with.

marksellsuswallets
January 5th 2009


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wiz is to metuhl for anything else tbh...
I like this album a bit I don't care what you think sirs

Wizard
January 5th 2009


19407 Comments


What is metuhl?

foreverendeared
January 5th 2009


14678 Comments


it's metal getting punched in the gut. how metal is that!This Message Edited On 01.05.09

gaslightanthem
January 5th 2009


5209 Comments


hahaha, oh & thanks wiz ;)



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