Review Summary: Underoath return in full stride on "Lost in the Sound of Separation", making the most focused album of their careers.
In the months leading up to Lost in the Sound of Separation
underOATH (hereafter referred to as just ‘Underoath’) has been building up quite the hype train. After a short series of videos about their time in studio, they were oft-quoted as saying the record was going to be more “epic” and at the same time “way heavier” than their previous effort, Define the Great Line
. The promise of something more musically engrossing that would be heavier than Define the Great Line
(which, for how poppy it was, was very
heavy) was something fans just couldn’t help but get stoked for. The resultant album, Lost in the Sound of Separation
brings a tighter sense of songwriting and more experimentalism with their sound and song structure, but seems to lack the “heavier” nature promised, although it is more grand and expansive than anything they have ever written.
This album succeeds greatly with its short, catchy songs. The first two tracks, “Breathing In a New Mentality” and “Anyone Can Dig a Hole But It Takes a Real Man to Call it Home” (the titles have gotten exponentially ridiculous, yes) contain ever changing, progressive metalcore sections. “Breathing…” features a part reminiscent of sister band Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, with a “southern metalcore” riff being placed over Spencer’s improved again screaming, while a spacey bridge connects the song to its conclusion. Spacey is what describes the songwriting best, as its very A Types
Hopesfall inspired stuff. Keyboardist Dudley doesn’t take very many extended breaks by himself this time (except on the continuing tracks “The End is Near” and “The End is Here”), but contributes more to the atmosphere of the songs themselves than ever before.
The only song that truly fits what Underoath had described before the album came out is “The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed”, a crushing song that actually shows a true sense of catharsis to Underoath’s music, as it transforms from a heavy blast of older-Underoath inspired metalcore (while containing the albums centerpiece moment, as Spencer howls “They just spin in perfect little circles, its all that they do” as an ‘epic’ guitar line accompanies it) into Aaron singing along with Spencer in a tension building segment that just simply ends. It is unfortunate that after the excellent first half of the album, we are treated to quite a disappointment in the next few tracks.
A trio of songs follow, “We Are the Involuntary”, “The Created Void”, “Coming Down is Calming Down” that are absolutely unmemorable. Along with “A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine” they are the Achilles Heel of the album, creating a sense of genericism within the record. They don’t really differentiate themselves much, and just contain standard Underoath songwriting. It’s on these tracks the lack of heavy sections is apparent, and while there are interesting moments strewn throughout them, there is nothing that hooks the listener into really paying attention to them.
Lost in the Sound of Separation
does still succeed despite these weaker tracks. The “ballad” of “Too Bright To See Too Loud” is actually quite beautiful, with the chorus of members singing “Good God, can you still get us home”. It also contains one of the most impressive moments on the album, as after said chorus Spencer breaks in with a scream of “How can we still get home?”, sounding more pained and disaffected than ever. The album notes Underoath’s maturation not only as musicians but also as people, as we’re getting a deeper look into them than we ever have. If the album was more consistent and had more memorable parts making it up, it would be a tremendous triumph. However, when Underoath hits it they hit it well, and Lost in the Sound of Separation
is still a very good record despite its faults.