Underoath
Erase Me


3.0
good

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
March 30th, 2018 | 1870 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I don't know / what they told you / but this place is not what you think.

I'm starting to think that Underoath's magic ingredient was never in the sonic department. They didn't stand out from the pack because of the crazy riffs, or the electric vocal interplay, or even the experimental dips into post-rock and ambient and so on. I think the reason I'm writing an Underoath review in 2018 and you're all reading it is their uncanny ability to mean almost anything to anyone. I realise that sounds incredibly vague, but think about it: there are few bands who could just as easily make the soundtrack to losing your girlfriend to another guy as they could to, say, losing the love of your life in a car crash or losing yourself to drug addiction. Within the space of six years, from The Changing of Times to Define the Great Line, Underoath pulled that off almost unconsciously, following where the music took them. Lost in the Sound of Separation and Disambiguation took the style of Define to its breaking point, but Spencer turned his lyrics towards apocalypses literal and metaphorical. Those albums felt and feel like world-enders, appropriate capstones to a wildly inventive discography, and to this day the finest work the ever-changing roster that was Underoath created.

Does all of the above make it more or less surprising that Erase Me sounds the way it does" The jury's still out. It's not all that shocking that they considered Disambiguation about as far as they could push the envelope in that direction. It's a little shocking that, according to his Music Feeds interview, Spencer Chamberlain was the main voice of pulling back towards radio rock hooks and simple structures in its place. Like many, I'd always thought the band's shift in direction was a direct result of Spencer becoming a songwriting voice, but in hindsight it just seems like Tim McTague letting loose writing for a vocalist with a better range. This would all be academic if the softer direction was a success, but by any conceivable measure it's not. "Rapture" and "Wake Me" are the two worst Underoath songs since Act of Depression, both bubbling in the truly horrid stew of post-grunge, radio rock and electronics that Sleepwave, That's the Spirit and that comeback Thrice album all shared. "I Gave Up" also withers in the face of past Underoath album closers, to put it generously, shooting towards emotional piano ballad and landing firmly in overwrought and formulaic instead. Lines like "take the keys to my car / and drive me far / far away" really don't help. Choruses are cheap and thin; Spencer's voice is pitchy and a touch out of key; Aaron's bridges and post-choruses feel perfunctory, tossed-off, like the band forgot how his effortless ability to carry a hook could have benefited an album like this.

If your blood is pumping double-time right now, let me ameliorate, because all the shit I just talked mostly applies to Erase Me's opening stretch. The album kicks off around track five with "Bloodlust", an appropriate transition piece. One of the band's catchiest choruses, and verses with an echo of "Paper Lung" dance with a bridge that blows off the cobwebs by finally bringing the heaviness, or as much heaviness as Matt Squire's mosquito buzz guitar sound will allow. From there is an impressive stretch of music much closer to the album, we must imagine, the band envisioned from the jump. Spencer's pop sensibilities come good on the rocket-powered, heartfelt "ihateit", whilst the vicious "Sink With You" and "Hold Your Breath" nearly recapture the band's former lightning in a bottle energy. It's on clear standout "No Frame" that the album makes peace with the spectre of experimental Underoath lingering behind the curtains. A glitchy, mournful atmosphere marks it closest in sound to "Driftwood" or "Desolate Earth :: The End is Here", albeit with Spencer and Aaron harmonising for a genuinely unnerving refrain that bodes well for a possible future direction.

Unintentionally or otherwise, Spencer's Music Feeds interview divided the band's creatives into himself and Aaron, the pop songwriters, while Tim and Chris bring the heavy and experimental material. It's probably not that black-and-white in reality, but it's an easy narrative I think many will adopt in Erase Me's wake, looking for ways to shift and pinpoint the blame on why the album is a relative disappointment. Admittedly, it's so easy to see the struggle for a compromise between the two echoed throughout Underoath's discography. Their very best songs would see the light and the dark clashing within the same structure, every member's different interpretation of what the band could be fighting for dominance in an exhilarating rush. The major difference on Erase Me is that the two sides are in harmony, cleaned up and smoothed out and repackaged for a digestible listen. "Every record we've done has been a fight", Spencer said in that interview. He said it by way of comparison, to show how much more diplomatic and open the recording of Erase Me had been, but it honestly just made me nostalgic for days gone by. Because I miss the fight.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2018


40753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this should be an interesting thread

GhostB1rd
March 30th 2018


1785 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh fuck my boi got that early hookup.

Hawks
March 30th 2018


62610 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

this should be an interesting thread [2]



Still really pumped to hear this even though people seem to be hating on it already around here.

Digging: Bastard Priest - Ghouls of the Endless Night

Source
March 30th 2018


4503 Comments


This thread will probably end up breaking the site

FreddieDelaney31
March 30th 2018


4907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well fuck

dathvada321
March 30th 2018


1875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review dude. So it's half a good record basically.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2018


40753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah that's the gist of it. thanks

TROWfan41
March 30th 2018


4 Comments


really strong review, made me excited for the album even if it isn't going to be exactly what I thought I wanted.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2018


40753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh and the Music Feeds interview for those curious:



http://musicfeeds.com.au/features/christianity-ruined-life-underoaths-spencer-chamberlain-talks-moving-past-setting-fire-rule-book-album-8/

Lucman
March 30th 2018


1302 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Nice review, Row! Actually not pumped to hear this at all. I expect my rating to mirror yours or maybe dip a little lower.

Digging: Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica

JeetJeet
March 30th 2018


5599 Comments


Sounds like they dropped a dud.

Digging: Vince Staples - FM!

JeetJeet
March 30th 2018


5599 Comments


Anything on here as good as the best tracks off DTGL?

Themaxwell23
March 30th 2018


114 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I have yet to hear the whole record but the two singles were a major let down to say the least. It doesn't feel like underoath to me in the slightest. Really good review.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2018


40753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Jeet no, but I have a real fondness for No Frame, the atmosphere is intense. and cheers lads

Storm In A Teacup
March 30th 2018


24556 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

refuse 2 believe review. 6/5 album

Wildhoney
March 30th 2018


271 Comments


I wish all reviews on this site were as engaging and readable as this one

henryChinaski
March 30th 2018


4110 Comments


Thanks for the link to that interview, reading now. I thought the first single was decent, second not so much. Still looking forward to listen to the whole thing.

The artwork is pretty cool.

Nice write-up!

Durrzo
March 30th 2018


1610 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

At this point I can settle for half good, because the singles had me thinking this was going to be a crushing disappointment.

I'm certain it will still be a letdown in comparison to what it could have been, but I'll still happily take a few new Underoath songs to enjoy.

Digging: Moonshade - Sun Dethroned

Tranqyl
March 30th 2018


284 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's going to suck massively if this isn't of the same level of quality that Underoath as been pretty consistently pushing out since They're Only Chasing Safety.

henryChinaski
March 30th 2018


4110 Comments


I believe there's a typo in the first sentence of the second paragraph:

...that Erase Me sounds the way it does"

That quotation mark after does.




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