Underoath
Define the Great Line


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
June 20th, 2006 | 2447 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Fans of Underoath's last album (They're Only Chasing Safety) may be surprised to learn that Define the Great Line is actually Underoath's fifth studio effort. Since their formation in 1998, the band have gone from being a ferocious black metal influenced metalcore band who wrote 8 minute songs to a catchy, almost mainstream poppy post-hardcore outfit. In the space between the first release and Define the Great Line, Underoath have changed their style so enormously with each consecutive release that one has to ponder whether the band who released Cries of the Past and They're Only Chasing Safety should be considered as the same band. History aside, Define the Great Line is Underoath's first effort since their major breakout into the mainstream with They're Only Chasing Safety. Although they have a lot to prove, Define the Great Line should prove a surprise for fans of the band's older and newer work alike.

Underoath
Spencer Chamberlain - Vocals
Aaron Gillespie - Drums, Vocals
Timothy McTague - Guitar
James Smith - Guitar
Grant Brandell - Bass
Christopher Dudley - Keyboards

While it is quite common for bands to take a more mainstream direction with each album they release, it is far less common for bands to become less accessible. By now, it seems obvious that Underoath aren't interested in repeating themselves. Fans of the catchy post-hardcore of They're Only Chasing Safety expecting more of the same will undoubtedly disappointed by Underoath's sixth release. Though Safety is probably the most similar Underoath album to Define the Great Line, things have certainly changed. Musically, Define the Great Line all but abandon the catchy pop choruses that made them so many fans on their last record. Instead, they have made a heavier, more eclectic and more challenging album with Define the Great Line. Vicious drumming, heavy and chugging guitar riffs, ambient electronics and post-metal melodies dominate what has been described by the band members as the best album they will ever be involved with.

Underoath have changed enormously since They're Only Chasing Safety and thankfully, these changes are all for the better. Possibly the best illustration of the good changes the band have undergone is that of the vocals. Chamberlain's voice has improved dramatically since the last record. He now includes vicious screaming, growling, yelling, shouting, shrieking and much improved singing while very rarely sounding whiney or annoying. Aaron Gillespie's vocals also make welcome appearances in vocal duels. These are scattered through the album quite regularly, but are never overdone. Musically, the band have majorly improved as well. Or perhaps, considering the great skill showcased on the group's early releases, they have decided to make more use of their musicianship. Whatever the case, Define the Great Line makes superb use of technical riffing, constant tempo changes and very impressive drumming thoughout.

Define the Great Line opens with "In Regards to Myself", one of the album's heaviest songs. Like their labelmates Norma Jean, Underoath throw a lot of dissonant riffs into their very heavy sound on this record and this dissonance is well exemplified on "In Regards to Myself". At its core, Define the Great Line is definitely a modern metalcore album in the vein of bands like Norma Jean and Botch. However, to dismiss it as simply another metalcore album would be an injustice. Other influences creep in all throughout, such as the slow, sludgy post-metal with soaring guitar leads, extremely similar to Cult of Luna or Isis that appears in quite a few of the album's tracks, or the ambient electronica of Salmarnir that includes a recitation of part of Psalm 50 in Russian. Keyboards are used to great effect throughout, not just for ambience when it is required. The album's closer - "To Whom It May Concern" - makes use of a great deal of tempo changes and runs for over 7 minutes. Lyrically, Underoath still have a major focus on Christianity and personal struggles.

For fans of Underoath at their earliest, this record may still be somewhat of a disappointment. On the other hand, this record may be just what fans of the early material have been hoping for. Expectations were high and Underoath have certainly delivered. They may not have delivered what fans of their last record were hoping for, but regardless, Define the Great Line is Underoath's strongest release to date.

Pros
Diversity
Heavier and more technical sound
The enormous improvement in the vocal department

Cons
This won't be what fans of TOCS were expecting

Recommended Songs
In Regards To Myself
Returning Empty Handed
To Whom It May Concern

FINAL RATING: 4/5



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user ratings (2483)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 20th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice 100th dude, but I think you overplay the vocal change too much. He's improved, but he still is nothing more than mediocore. However, the album blew me away musically, mainly because I didn't expect anything like this from them. I'm teetering on a 3 or 3.5 at the moment, those vocals still kill me though.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 20th 2006


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Maybe I'm just new to the whole metalcore thing. After hearing what he did on Safety and then this, I was pretty impressed.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 20th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^^ Truer words have never been spoken in an Underoath thread.

Full Collapse299
June 20th 2006


507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Aaron is a really good singer in my opinion. Spencer's screams are so much better. I still like Dallas Taylor overall as a metalcore vocalist but very good job indeed. I totally forgot today was the 20th so I'll have to pick this up possibly tommorow. Good review, especially the introduction. Is this really their 6th studio effort? I only know of five including this, please tell me of the other.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 20th 2006


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is this really their 6th studio effort? I only know of five including this, please tell me of the other.


Ah, you're right. I must have counted the rerelease of TOCS as one.

ToWhatEnd
June 20th 2006


3172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I PREORDERED THIS AND STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN IT

Very nice review. You with a 4, Eliminator with a 4, Iluv with a 3 *gasp* now I really cannot wait to get this.This Message Edited On 06.20.06

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 20th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Scratch that, Iluv now gives this a 3.5. Oh, and a preliminary sorry to br3ad_man

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 20th 2006


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorry for what?

chad^
June 20th 2006


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is absolutely sick. From never giving screamo/post-hardcore music a chance, I have become obsessed with this record. TOCS got me into this band, and this album just surpasses anything I've ever heard.

MAkes TOCS look like a joke.This Message Edited On 06.20.06

Full Collapse299
June 20th 2006


507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah, you're right. I must have counted the rerelease of TOCS as one.

Oh

Anyway, I was surpsised by this album too. It's so much better than They're Only Chasing Safety and even The Changing of Times. I still prefer Dallas' voice more.

Nothing beats The Changing Of Times in my opinion. I love that album so much.

(>dragon~guitarist<)
June 20th 2006


243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Much less mainstream than TOCS, and much more better too.

cbmartinez
June 20th 2006


2525 Comments


I guess it's a tiny step away from the mainstream in regards to TOCS, but I still don't think they're going to lose many fans. It still appeals to the whole poppy, sing along metalcore fad they subscribed to.

That being said, "A Boy Brushed Red..." is their best song and anyone who can resist singing along to that song is crazy. Saw them live with Thrice, really nice dudes. Me and my drummer talked to the keyboardist about the Bible. :DThis Message Edited On 06.20.06

f_u_c_t
June 20th 2006


1406 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I bought this but haven't found time to listen to it. But by the responses so far, i need to find time. TOCS didnt seem to get this much hype at all.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
June 20th 2006


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=cbmartinez]Me and my drummer talked to the keyboardist about the Bible. :D[/quote]

What'd he say?

CushMG15
June 20th 2006


1803 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review surprises me. I was not expecting anything that Underoath would release recently to be described like this. Very well written, Bread. I was at the record store and I saw this and immediately dismissed it (I own TOCS and TCOT, the later being pretty decent actually). I might actually look into this now.

Storm In A Teacup
June 20th 2006


13225 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Congrats on being the third person to reach 100 reviews.

ToWhatEnd
June 20th 2006


3172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey cb, I saw them live with Thrice as well. Twas a fantastic show.

CushMG15
June 21st 2006


1803 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I missed that show, but I hear it was sick. I do believe The Bled were with them. I am so not sexy for missing that show.

IgniteYourAvail
June 21st 2006


41 Comments


[QUOTE=f_u_c_t]I bought this but haven't found time to listen to it. But by the responses so far, i need to find time. TOCS didnt seem to get this much hype at all.[/QUOTE]
Well, TOCS didn't get hype because Underoath wasn't broken into the mainstream yet. This album was hyped to hell for the opposite reason.
I, myself, am an old Underoath fan. I actually enjoyed this album, definitely batter than TOCS. I really hope they keep steering in this direction.This Message Edited On 06.20.06

whatsgrimace
June 21st 2006


47 Comments


This sounds really promising from all of the reviews so far. I think I'm going to pick up a copy of it as soon as I get my next paycheck.



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