Review Summary: If it’s not broken, there is no need to fix it.Unearth is:
Trevor Phipps - vocals
Buz McGrath - guitar
John Maggard - bass
Ken Susi - guitar
Justin Foley (this album)- drums
It seems this old motto is one that could be applied to many of Unearth’s albums and their latest release, Darkness In The Light
is no exception. Unearth could be considered one of the metalcore genre’s essential bands alongside acts such as Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying. For Unearth, not much has changed over the course of their careers, from The Stings of Conscience
to The March
, Unearth has experienced a steady growth in their music and not surprisingly their fan base.
Slight line-up changes have caused the band to switch drummers before recording could begin and Derek Kerswill was replaced by Killswitch Engage’s own Justin Foley. In many ways this record could be considered a Killswitch/Unearth mash-up as Adam Dutkiewicz headlines the production team. The rest of the band however remains the typical Unearth line-up.
There is not too much to say about the sound other than it’s really the same old recipe for Unearth. However one noticeable change includes the clean vocals that are peppered over the course of the album, most notably towards the end of album opener ‘Watch It Burn’ and ‘Shadows In The Light’. It is easy to say that, Darkness In The Light
is relatively up-beat and fast paced. The style is aggressive and hardcore infused and in typical Unearth fashion contains some rather interesting, well-crafted guitar solos. While Darkness In The Light
maintains a high level of the listeners interest there are a few dragging moments around the middle section of the album. These dragging moments can be found in rather ‘filling’ tracks such as ‘Last Wish’ and ‘Coming Of The Dark’. There is nothing really disappointing about these tracks, they just lack some of the aggressive punch shown by other tracks such as ‘Watch It Burn’, ‘Eyes Of Black’ and ‘Disillusion’.
Unearth’s consistency can be seen as both a positive and a negative issue. It becomes a positive because a typical standard is met on most Unearth records and listeners’ can expect a quality listen every time they play an Unearth album. As much as this is a positive thing it also becomes a negative issue. Unearth display an unwillingness to be innovative or bend the rules of their own music, recycling musical ideas and riff patterns and if this becomes uninteresting, it creates a dragged out, some-what tiring listen. Fortunately the dragging is kept to a minimum and the album maintains its playback value.
As always musicianship is of a high standard throughout the entire of the record. From crunching breakdowns, stomp riffs, interesting vocal phrases to exciting guitar solos. There is much here to maintain the interest of the listener. Unfortunately the bass work of John Maggard hugs too close to the rhythm section of the guitars and blends to well in the music. With interest centered on the lead work of the guitars and the vocals, the bass falls into the background and gets missed in the mix. While Justin Foley is a talented enough musician, his drum work neither improves nor lowers the overall standard of the music he is helping create.
Darkness In The Light
, overall is a great album. There are many memorable quality tracks outweighing a couple of fillers that mar an otherwise excellent record. Darkness In The Light
is an excellent show of each respective members talents. Musicianship is what holds this album together, driven by a well done production, Darkness In The Light
will keep the metalcore fans coming back for more. Those diving in head first into this album should be aware that Unearth are as consistent as it goes. “If it’s not broken, there is no need to fix it.”