Underoath
Voyeurist


3.7
great

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
January 17th, 2022 | 401 replies


Release Date: 01/14/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I can't be the me that I washed up to be / end cycle.

Underoath's Digital Ghost performance of Voyeurist was like a hand-crafted invitation to me, personally, to reassure that one of my younger self's favourite bands still had that special sauce. Following up on the furious but familiar Observatory versions of two of their masterworks and also They're Only Chasing Safety was there for some reason, Digital Ghost plays as Underoath fully embracing the possibilities of the livestream format. Each band member brought their A-game with a set of phenomenal performances that were done justice with a clear, spacious mix. Top-tier production values and set design, almost an updated version of Define the Great Line's memorably creepy music videos, enriched the music and enhanced the haunted, lonely atmosphere of the music. Ghostly interludes ensured that the livestream performance actually flowed better than the final album product, which I assure you I am getting to. It's simultaneously unfortunate that Voyeurist will always be compared to Digital Ghost (The Cooler Daniel) because of a bizarre rollout forced by COVID-era vinyl delays, and lucky for all of us that a good album with a clumsy mix has a superior twin to listen to.

But I don't mean to suggest I'll never opt to listen to Voyeurist. I mean, it's the only version on streaming services – plus, a grittier, tougher sound is not necessarily a dealbreaker for an album clearly aiming to unsettle and disorient its audience in the breaks between pummelling it in the face. The luxuries of unlimited, self-produced studio time allow for some gorgeous sonic textures the likes of which were sorely missing in the flat buzz of Erase Me: the dreamy, keys-led soundscapes on "I'm Pretty Sure I'm Out Of Luck And Have No Friends" and "(No Oasis)", Chris Dudley's warped, glitchy outro on "Thorn", little snatches of harmony here and there that a patient ear will uncover on repeat listens. In fact, it's interesting that the band's first self-produced work also reintroduced the concept of Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie functioning as a duo and exercising their not-inconsiderable chemistry. One listen to the all-timer hook on "Thorn" will have you flashing back to 2006 at a dizzying speed, with the two singers actually performing together with thought given to the other's melody, instead of Frankensteining together pre-written parts as they obviously did on their first comeback album.

The band claimed "Sink With You" would be the template for Voyeurist, and in some ways the influence of that song's sike-out ending and spiralling outro are extant in this album, thankfully without the awful accompanying nu-metal hook. Tim McTague's intention to reintroduce the slow builds and atmospheric asides of the good ol' days pays generous dividends in highlights "I'm Pretty Sure..." and "Pneumonia", an indication of a desire to merge the better parts of Erase Me - the fragmented, haunted feeling of "No Frame", the all-you-can-eat stylistic tightrope of "Bloodlust" - with the things that made old Underoath so fucking great. In other words, it kinda sounds like everything they've done since 2004, remixed and streamlined almost to a fault. A nostalgic kick in the teeth, perfectly calibrated to an age where we're all tired and traumatised and begging for familiar things to come back more than ever before. Can we really blame Underoath for hopping on that train?

So all that good stuff's back, sometimes overbearingly so: the layers of instrumentation, Spencer's lows pinging off Aaron's sky-scraping hooks, Tim absolutely shredding on that baritone guitar. What's missing? Conspicuous by its absence is the level of lyricism from Underoath's glory days, that heady mix of the intensely personal and the broadly apocalyptic. An undercurrent of cringe-angst creeps in as Voyeurist goes on, with the one-two punch of "We're All Gonna Die" and "Numb" especially falling victim to a devastating combination of awkward production and too-edgy lyricism. Fortunately the album closes with a triumph, a shattering recounting of the passing of Tim McTague's father with the best lyrics the band has written in a solid decade: "Dig till there's nothing, I'll keep on climbing / until I'm skin and bones / fade into new light, blur back to old lives / release me from all fear." If you've missed that unmistakable edge of darkness drawn from life's adversities like poison from a wound, rest assured, the final few minutes of "Pneumonia" will make up for a lot.

But I don't mean to reduce Underoath's secret ingredient, if there is such a thing, to some abstract definition of 'darkness' that doesn't do them justice. More than most other bands, this one functions on a delicate, subtle chemistry between every single member that can be disrupted both in positive ways (Aaron Gillespie's departure on Disambiguation clearing the decks for some real, specific darkness) and negative (his return with Erase Me on some Octane FM radio rock bullshit). Voyeurist isn't some ambitious attempt to reclaim the name and trust Underoath had accrued by 2012. It's the sound of a band slowly, hesitantly clawing their way towards a clean slate, or some kind of reset where they can just be together making music again without the burden of their past (a similar move to what Thrice pulled with last year's Horizons / East). And if Underoath never again sound like they did on Define the Great Line, maybe that's okay. We've heard them play the hits enough for a lifetime, and a scattered few moments on Voyeurist suggest these digital ghosts might still find newer graves to haunt.



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user ratings (256)
3.2
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2022


46386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

yea aight bet

SteakByrnes
January 17th 2022


26900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hi Rowan much love good review! Album is shockingly solid and I'm glad I like it overall. Out of Luck and Cycle are my favorites

Digging: Purity Filter - Immortal Spirit

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2022


46386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

I'm Pretty Sure I'm Out of Steak and Have No Byrnes



album good big agreed

SteakByrnes
January 17th 2022


26900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

holy moly dude hell yea

Mort.
January 17th 2022


17897 Comments


its almost like theyre under oath to make bad music these days

i am very intelligent

Digging: Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2022


46386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

all this time you spend snarking on my threads when you could be working on your masterpiece: Metalcore for Bad People

Mort.
January 17th 2022


17897 Comments


thats just the history of metalcore

bloc
January 17th 2022


68475 Comments


Yeah I could agree with this rating, album's not bad

kzy
January 17th 2022


96 Comments


nice,
Hallelujah drum pattern remind me of "There Could Be Nothing After This" intro from Define the Great Line.

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
January 17th 2022


16211 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Great review as always but wow We're All Gonna Die is the worst song I've heard in a month or two

Digging: Ethel Cain - Preacher's Daughter

cloakanddagger
January 17th 2022


516 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Album isn't on par with their pre-breakup material but it's a huge step up from Erase Me. Nice to hear Spencer screaming again.

onionbubs
January 17th 2022


15702 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I'm Pretty Sure I'm Out of Steak and Have No Byrnes" lmao amazing



wonderful review as always. sums up a lot of how i feel about this

Comatorium.
January 17th 2022


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So relieved to enjoy this after the abortion that was erase me. Shit is solid.

nash1311
January 17th 2022


4171 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Good grief this album is terrible. Not hearing what everyone else is. I found portions of this borderline unlistenable

Digging: Gospel - The Loser

butt.
January 17th 2022


9826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Have you tried removing the poop from your ears first?

nash1311
January 17th 2022


4171 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

No, it’s Aaron’s poop and have you seen how much he eats?

Mongi123
January 17th 2022


21378 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Omg Cycle is such a piece of shit

Jamdbz
January 17th 2022


1269 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dang first page and we already got an Aaron joke

Cormano
January 17th 2022


3396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this been growing on me ngl



ace review row

Mongi123
January 17th 2022


21378 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Pneumonia is really the only very great song on here. The rest is a poor attempt at sonic experimentation. And spencer is pretty bad 😬



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