I must admit my expectations for this album weren’t all that high. I had long since left metalcore behind, with the exception being a few God Forbid listens that were tepid at best. And for the first 4:21 of III: The Eyes of Fire
, my take on the album was about the same as my expectations.
The first track,Glorious Nightmare
, is a pretty standard metalcore song. Somewhat entertaining, but hardly impressive. By the end of the final breakdown, I thought my hopes at finding a band whom had transcended the standard metalcore fodder were dashed. Somewhat disappointed, I waited for the next song to come in.
And then came hope. His name was Giles
. A spectacular amalgamation of fret wizardry, frantic snare hits, and a breakdown that was actually somewhat satisfying, Giles represents the potential that Unearth show on this album.
Unfortunately, it’s only potential. III
fails to be consistently innovative. Take for instance, Sanctity of Brothers
. At about 1:55, as guitarists Ken Susi and Buz McGrath chaotically ascend the fretboard, vocalist Trevor Phipps screams an echoing mantra. After this huge build-up comes….a ho-hum breakdown. In fact, this is a trend that occurs throughout the album. Just when the steam behind a song is building, any kind of build-up is ruined by cacophonous D5 bashing. The breakdown, while a trademark of metalcore, is overused.
But by no means is III
a bad album. On the contrary. It doesn’t fail to entertain in the least. In fact, it has the old At the Gates quality of having at least one thing in every song that makes it worth listening to. Unstoppable
, for instance, employs some nice clean parts that really are nice break from the rest of the album. So it Goes
features a spectacular (if all too short) shred duel at the end. Big Bear and the Hour of Chaos
, the final track, has some nice piano work in it.
The production on the album is quite tight, and with the exception of the bass, all the instruments are well defined in the mix. Speaking of instruments, guitarists Susi and McGrath have done their part to ensure that the guitar work on III is tight, aggressive and entertaining. It’s unquestionably more melodic and technical than almost anything in the metalcore genre. Drummer Mike Justian provides more than just a crash cymbal, showing off some very precise fills and frenetic beats. John Maggard, like most metalcore bassists, is quite inaudible. Finally, vocalist Trevor Phipps’s voice is an acquired taste in my opinion. I didn’t really like it all that much at first, but I got used it enough to enjoy the album.
In all, III
is a superb metalcore effort. But therein lies the problem. It suffers from the usual metalcore habits of having samey-feeling songs and too many breakdowns. But underneath that there is great potential for Unearth to put out something great. This deserves a look.