Grade
Under the Radar


4.0
excellent

Review

by LaidToRest329 USER (6 Reviews)
October 18th, 2007 | 27 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Catchy, Emotional, and Powerful, Under the Radar has it all.

Oh Grade, how criminally underappreciated you are. Whenever I bring them up in a conversation, I am usually met with a bewildered reaction. While it is true that most emo bands never gained much mainstream popularity, it seems Grade is relatively unknown even amongst my well listened social dynamic. I think this is a real shame, because with Under The Radar, Grade created one of, if not my all time favorite hardcore album.

One of the first things you notice upon playing opening track "The Inefficiency of Emotion" is the use of tight, melodic riffing. Grade plays with a slightly less spastic style than their contemporaries, which is what drew me to this album initially. Another factor that enamored me to this release was the lack of screaming. While there is quite a bit of screaming in Under The Radar, it is for the most part subdued and outnumber by the clean singing. While the Singer’s voice is rough, it conveys emotion extremely well, which leads me to the next point about the power of Grade, the raw emotion.

Like many bands often associated with Grade, the use of emotion is what makes the music truly great. Songs like "The Inefficiency Of Emotion" and "The Worst Lies Are Told In Silence", evoke strong emotions of anger and sadness. This, in conjunction with the well written, if at times cliché lyrics, is probably Grade’s biggest draw.

Before you go on thinking that all of what Grade does is good (while much of it is), there are a few drawbacks this album suffers from. The first is Simplicity. While the guitar riffing is tight, it is sometimes overtly simplistic, relying on strummed power chords and medium speed arpeggio leads. The drumming does a nice job of keeping the beat, and even throws in a few interesting fills, but its evident that he is there to be a timekeeper. The bass is very hard to hear unless you have speakers with an EQ on them, but once I pulled the bass up in the mix, I was surprised. The bassist does not usually follow the guitars, and can most of the time be found creating grooving lines that make it a shame that he is so far down in the mix.

Another major issue with this cd is repetitiveness. Barring a few exceptions, most notably "For the Memory of Love" (which pulls off a little more atmospheric feel), and "A Year in the Past, Forever In the Future" (which has more in common with Drive Like Jehu than Saetia), the songs here are an awful lot alike. While all being high quality, a little change here and there would have been beneficial, and this makes Under the Radar difficult to listen to in one sitting.

On this album, the quality is heavily weighted to the far front and back. While this does start and end the music on a high note, I can’t help but think that if a little more effort were put into the middle songs, that this would be a nearly flawless record.

One track that I believe needs mentioning, but hasn’t made its way into this review, is "Triumph and Tragedy". If there was one Grade song to show someone, it would be this. It’s not radically different from the rest, but it is the pinnacle of Grade’s sound. The lyrics are well written, the music sucks you in, and the vocals are catchy. This is the perfect way to end the album, and the stand out song on the cd.

If you are a fan of hardcore, emo, or even post-hardcore, you owe it to yourself to check out this cd. It is one of my personal favorites, and also one of the most played cds on my itunes.

Recommended Tracks
-The Inefficiency of Emotion
-Triumph and Tragedy
-For the Memory of Love
-Year in the Past, Forever In the Future

Final Rating: 4/5



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user ratings (58)
Chart.
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
LaidToRest329
October 18th 2007


158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll admit they arent for everybody, but i still think that people who like this type of music should chrck them out.



Is the bolding thing something that needs to be fixed?

LaidToRest329
October 18th 2007


158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ahh thanks a lot.



EDIT: fixedThis Message Edited On 10.18.07

chimera908
October 18th 2007


713 Comments


Grade seem pretty sweet, I'll have to check them out sometime. Pretty cool review.

botb
October 18th 2007


12694 Comments


i'm a big fan of sunny day real estate and the fire theft... is this a similar sounding band or do you think I would enjoy it?

Willie
Moderator
October 18th 2007


17623 Comments


While the guitar riffing is tight, it is sometimes overtly simplistic, relying on strummed power chords and medium speed arpeggio leads. The drumming does a nice job of keeping the beat, and even throws in a few interesting fills, but its evident that he is there to be a timekeeper. The bass is very hard to hear unless you have speakers with an EQ on them
Another major issue with this cd is repetitiveness. Barring a few exceptions...the songs here are an awful lot alike
On this album, the quality is heavily weighted to the far front and back. While this does start and end the music on a high note, I can’t help but think that if a little more effort were put into the middle songs, that this would be a nearly flawless record.
How is an album full of boring simple riffs and beats, that all sound similar, with the only high quality songs at the beginning and end, an album you can say is excellent?This Message Edited On 10.18.07

LaidToRest329
October 18th 2007


158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well when i say beginning and end, i really mean the first and last 4 songs



the other songs aren't bad per se, they just sound the same to me.



amd also technicality doesn't always make a record good, and lack of technicality doesn't make it bad. I guess I should have clarified my opinions a little better.This Message Edited On 10.18.07

Willie
Moderator
October 18th 2007


17623 Comments


Oh, ok... when I think beginning and end, I think first song and last song... possibly first two songs. Either way, I don't like this album, but I see why you can give it a four now, at least ;)

204409
Emeritus
October 19th 2007


3998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a fabulous album. I had been planning to review this for a long time and had always loved it but now I'm glad I have a space to comment on it.

tuk
October 20th 2007


152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For The Memoy Of Love pwns

team7disorder
October 20th 2007


40 Comments


this is ace, but my fave is grade album is headfirst straight to hell. thats a phenomenal album.

kalkal50
October 28th 2007


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you could say this band has slipped under the radar

HAH, no

Tyler
Emeritus
October 28th 2007


7925 Comments


Good one.
They were absolutely huge in their respective scene when they were still around though.

kalkal50
October 28th 2007


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can't seem to find this nowadays

Athom
Emeritus
October 28th 2007


17240 Comments


I've been meaning to get more from these guys. I only have Separate the Magnets, but that album is heavenly.

kalkal50
January 2nd 2008


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They may be simplistic but I enjoy their mixture of power chords.

fractured
January 2nd 2008


388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album rocks, I've played it on and off since it came out, but seperate is better IMO. And after the singer's voice got screwed up and they tried sounding more clean they blew hardcore. I mean you can only gutteraly scream about love for so long...

charlesfishowitz
May 6th 2008


1794 Comments


i think i need to check this out.

Avirov
April 15th 2009


1206 Comments


Grade makes me a sad panda.This Message Edited On 05.20.09

gaslightanthem
July 28th 2009


5208 Comments


grade makes me a cum covered panda

accompliceofmydeath
July 28th 2009


4729 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Grade makes me a pissed off panda b/c I can't find their shit anywhere.

Digging: After the Burial - Forging a Future Self



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