Review Summary: Deathcore as it should be
It’s a funny thing how much bands can change from album to album. From UnderOath’s move from screamo to metalcore between They’re Only Chasing Safety
and Define the Great Line
, or And Then There Were None’s more drastic change from metalcore to techno/pop, a change can heavily impact a bands popularity and status in the music scene. After reviewing Underneath the Gun’s Forfeit Misfortune
, I decided to go back and check out their previous album, The Awakening
. Although the difference in style between the two albums is not a complete circle, it was enough to turn my head a bit and make me wonder.
For those of you who don’t know, The Awakening
is a straight up deathcore album. Unlike Forfeit Misfortune
, which displayed some form of melody and a slower pace, this album will hit you over the head and keep swinging until you lie in a pool of your own blood. Songs like Muckraker and The Awakening see the band firing on all cylinders, with breakdowns, blast beats, and pig squeals thrown about every which way, hitting the listener left and right.
The instrumentation on The Awakening
may not be as impressive as on Forfeit Misfortunes, as everything is simpler and less complex, but it still does not fail to impress. The guitars indulge in every possible form of breakdown, and tremolo picking replaces much of what would later be lead guitar. The bass is nowhere to be found, and really just provides a low end. The drumming is impressive on The Awakening
. Blast beats and lots of sixteenth note double kick litters the album. The drummer is given full reign to unleash whatever he wishes. Defiantly one of the music highlights on this album.
The biggest difference between The Awakening
and Forfeit Misfortunes
is the vocals. While the vocals on Underneath’s newer album are solid, they do not match the vocals in this album. With a range going from deep growls to pig squeals, the vocals are all over the place, and some of the more impressive ones I have heard in deathcore. They give the album its intense feel, and help the overall mood presented.
The biggest flaw on The Awakening
though is the production. The low budget recording is obvious in the very flimsy drum sound, with clicky bass drum and a tin can snare sound. The guitars are adequate but do not have the umph in order to give the album a real crushing sound. The other big problem is repetitiveness. Every song seems to flow into the other, as the breakdowns can start to sound very similar, and the vocals alone cannot help distinguish the individual songs.
Even with its flaws, The Awakening
is quickly becoming a standout album for me in the deathcore category. With a talented vocalist, and a mostly talented set of musicians, Underneath the Gun made a very solid metal album, one that won’t get a ton of listens, but really should. So I recommend you check out The Awakening
, as although it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it may become a staple for some listeners.