Review Summary: The ‘’Defining’’ album of Underoath’s career.
I really didn’t know how to approach this review with all the things l wanted to say about it, l just wanted to talk about them all without the review dragging on too long. But this band and album deserve a long review. Define the Great Line is Underoath’s 5th studio effort and without a doubt is their best effort.
The obvious starting point of this album is the massive improvement in the harsh vocal department. Spencer Chamberlain’s vocals are full of raw power and passion and on songs like ‘’A Moment Suspended in Time’’ his improvement really shines through to deliver his best performance of the album and also on any of his previous Underoath albums. Drummer and clean vocalist Aaron Gillespie has some of the best pipes in the business, and they are really highlighted in most songs. His most impressive performance comes from ‘’Moving For the Sake of Motion’’ where he lends his best vocal performance of the album, while also contributing a crushing drum section full of speed and power. Definitely one of the standouts of the record.
The atmosphere presented on this album is unlike any of its predecessors. ‘’Salmarnir’’ is an interlude song which includes passages from the bible to highlight Underoath’s Christian beliefs. This is really a song that takes some time to get into, but it displays some of the best atmosphere of any song on the record. One of the supreme qualities of this album is its ability to draw the listener in. Another standout ‘’Casting Such a Thin Shadow’’ is a song which allows the listener to be drawn in and really presents another side to Underoath through its slow build up and really interesting vocals. Album closer ‘’To Whom It May Concern’’ is also a remarkable closer which highlights Aaron’s strong clean vocals and a really nice melodic guitar mixed with synth, which make it a really memorable song.
Timothy Mctague also creates some amazing atmosphere with his impressive guitar riffs and the atmospheric tones really add another dimension. James Smith also adds some cool rhythm guitar riffs and does a great job in backing Tim up in each song. Grant Brandell with his bass playing also allows a real stronger sound to escape from the album, although the bass can only be heard if you’re specifically listening for it, he really adds more of an edgier and cleaner overall sound.
Christopher Dudley is one of the unsung heroes of Underoath. His contributions on each song with keyboards and synthesisers really do add more variety and an essence of experimentation that each time adds something different to the song and makes each song totally unique. The song that most demonstrates Underoath’s incredible improvement is ‘’Writing on the Walls’’. Here every single element of Underoath is added to craft a really remarkable song that shows how capable each band member is in their role. Crushing harsh vocals mixed with soaring cleans, a catchy riff and a great atmosphere set by Chris Dudley ultimately makes this Underoath’s best song of their career.
Underoath’s 5th album ‘’Define the Great Line’’ is without a doubt Underoath’s defining (pun intended) moment of their career. A truly brilliant album that has stood the test of time, and has certainly set a bar most bands cannot even come close to reaching.