Review Summary: Best Unearth album to date
Unearth came out strong with their second studio album produced by MetalBlade Records in the August of 2006. III: In the eyes of Fire is the follow up of their higly-anticipated first full-length debut album ‘’The Oncoming Storm’’ which displayed that Unearth is a brutal metalcore band, that can be compared to metalcore kings like Killswitch Engage.
Metalcore is mainly about superfast guitar riffs combined with aggressive vocals, and that is what Unearth does best. However, Unearth realised with this album that it is not all about speed; there is more than that. Although the structure of the songs on this album are still pretty basic, Unearth puts some interesting changes throughout this album, in an attempt to develop their own sound apart from the usual metalcore bands.
The album starts with what you would expect from Unearth: fast guitar riffs, screamy vocals, intense breakdowns, displayed in the usual ‘’Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Breakdown – Chorus’’ combo. The album starts with the usual Unearth-formula I just stated and the second song, Giles, fits the metalcore stereotype and is a fan-favourite because of the energy that flows through the song. The song itself is based on a folkloristic myth about Corey Giles, who had been pressed to death with stones when he refused to plead: ‘’ ’Crushed by the fear. More stone… More stone… More weight for Corey’’.
The breakdowns are usually a make it or break it for the typical metalcore band. Unearth proved with ‘’The Oncoming Storm’’ that the breakdowns were of supreme quality. But the breakdowns on this album are a bit different. Instead of the usual one sided breakdowns with the absence of vocals and one sided/monotone guitar playing, Unearth developed their own version of the breakdowns, either adding more vocals, or combining the usual breakdown guitar playing with difficult guitar lines. These small additions are what keeps this album fresh.
The last songs of the album are a little bit more instrumentally-heavy, showcasing what Unearth learned from Killswitch Engage’s guitarist, Adam Dutkiewicz, who helped producing ‘’The Oncoming Storm’’. With ‘’Big bear and the hour of Chaos’’ being an instrumental, Unearth perfectly shows that they are able to produce a more diverse sound; they do not need aggression, hate and fast riffs, but that a fully instrumental with thrashy solo’s can also do the trick. The last song feels like a cooling down from the crazy ride Unearth took us on with this album.
There is only one complaint I have about this album: it is impossible to hear any of the bass lines. All you can hear is the two lead guitars. You don’t really miss it, but I hive pity on the bass-guitarist, since he is playing his best, but the listener is unable to hear any of it! Although Unearth tried to mix it up, experimenting with the breakdowns and the basic structure of the songs, the instrumental structure stays the same throughout the whole album, with the drums basically following the two lead guitars. Whenever a guitarist strums a note/chord, the drummer hits a base-drum at the same time. This makes the drum-lines a bit predictable and linear.
This album was not well received by most of the Unearth’s fans. ‘’III: The eyes of fire’’ is, as I already stated before, different. But I myself find myself enjoying this album above all Unearth’s other albums. And I think that Unearth should’ve gotten a bit more recognition regarding this album. Overall, Unearth shows that it has what it takes to be a creative metalcore band, that doesn’t just stick to the usual metalcore play scheme. Unearth experimented with the fundamental idea of metalcore, while still maintaining the intensity and aggression that we know from their earlier work. Although this album is not a fan-favourite it is still a good album that even the not metalcore-fan will enjoy.