Review Summary: The title sums up this album from the standpoint of the creators mighty fine.
“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
We all wish that the above quote by Friedrich Nietzsche applied to all artists nowadays, do we not" Do we not hope that masochism could be a foreign concept to our lands" Do we not, as a society, wish that the seemingly heartless dribble that infects the mainstream today would just cease to exist" For the most part, people forgive others' mistakes. People try to find the heart and soul in artwork, and we almost always find it underneath the heaps of glossy sheen. However, do we always" The answer to that is no. There will always be pieces of art that simply serve no purpose other than to illustrate the regression of mankind (Stephenie Meyer, take note). Artistic minds have failed, and that pathway of failure still stands strong today. Hopefully this pathway is like a narrow bridge lacking a parapet—easy to fall off of. The waters of success are below, and the rapid flow of its current roars. So how is it that Underoath's They're Only Chasing Safety
passed this narrow pathway"
Well, there are many flaws to this. Genericness is undoubtedly one. This popcore release brings as much originality to the table as Christopher Paolini. The vocals are essentially a monotonous combination of adenoidal attempts at croons, and a strange balance between spoken word and yelling. The alternation between the two can be described in two words, entirely predictable. While occasionally this combination shows potential, it is often ruined by the lack of purpose or substance behind the music. Other times, it is done in such a cheesy, cliché manner that it's hard to swallow the trite vocals; especially when they are placed against such an irritatingly simple backdrop of instruments. True to the recent bastardization of pop-punk and metalcore-lite, the musicianship seems incompetent to take flight and shine. Rather than creating something worthwhile, the rhythmic section of this album balances angelic guitar notes with jocular attempts at dissonant hardcore styles. While this combination initially shows potential on “A Boy Brushed Red Living In Black And White” and “Young And Aspiring”, it again falls flat over time like soda. To add insult to injury, Underoath's style on their fourth LP features awkward accents like keyboards and a church choir. Both of these components to their sound accomplish nothing positive, and they are otiose attempts at disparity. However, these intrusions are terrible attempts at achieving such concept. Instead, it comes off as a cheesy shroud for poor songwriting, one that worsens the actual compositions on They're Only Chasing Safety
. It's far worse when one realizes that the poor songwriting is a recurring theme throughout this album.
“Reinventing Your Exit” is as boring and completely uninspired as the pretentious addition of said choir on “It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door”. The scathing attempts layered vocals become more apparent and more expected as the album rolls along. The same rings true for the tried riffs, save for some acoustic plucks on “Down, Set, Go”. Prime examples of the saddening displays of tedious chords are “The Blue Note” and “The Impact of Reason”. However, the tedium that is They're Only Chasing Safety
is hindered more so by the awkward electronic breaks courtesy of Chris Dudley. The mediocre, misplaced electronic elements on this album are most palpable on “It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door”, a track whose preexisting instrumental backdrop would not suggest an electric interlude as the best of musical augmentations. However, no detraction is detected by the almighty Underoath. This fact is made painfully clear when examining the nasally vocals, trite Christ-tinged lyrics, and bland musicianship. These components are capable of ruining many otherwise decent tracks. For example, “A Boy Brushed Red Living In Black And White” suffers from a combination of components associated with mediocrity. Guitar chords are slow and hollow, the drumming is painfully simplistic at a time when it shouldn't be, and the vocals are comparable to a Drop Dead, Gorgeous and Josh Scogin crossbreed. That can be said for many a track, and thus, most of the album falls ill to the plague of poor conception and even poorer execution. Subsequently, the album is one that captures the essence of despair and not a breath of life. Please, Underoath, send your “Angel of Mercy.” Send it to us all.