Recorded at Zing Recording Studios, Westfield, Massachusetts. Released on Metal Blade Records on 29 June 2004.
In the mid-80s there was thrash. Then there came grunge, followed by alternative metal and by the late 90s nu metal. Each wave of aggressive metal seems to be followed by a softer, more melodic response
The so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal (NWOAHM) is no different, building on the roots laid down by the likes of Pantera, Biohazard and Machine Head emerged, in part, as a reaction to nu metal — Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, etc… basically the bands that ruined Kerrang! magazine!
I have in my collection my fair share of NWOAHM bands: Biohazard, Black Label Society, Damageplan, Down, God Forbid, Hatebreed, Lamb of God, Machine Head, Mastodon, Slipknot, and Superjoint Ritual. I’d not come across Unearth before until last week.
Unearth are a metalcore band: a cross between extreme metal and hardcore punk, and I’m not averse to a good helping of metalcore. God Forbid‘s last couple of albums have been outstanding, for example.
So imagine my disappointment when I first listened to this album.
The album has all the right ingredients: crunching guitars; crushing riffs; twisting, duelling guitars that sound like a cross between Trivium and Iron Maiden; blast beats and frenzied double-kick drums; and lyrics barked and spat out.
But the music, to my ears, has no soul. It doesn’t move me. It’s clinical and precise and ultimately sterile. And every song sounds like the last, and I’m not kidding either. The opening riffs in “Lie to Purify” are almost identical to the opening riffs in the next track “Endless”.It’s like the album was created using cut-and-paste in Pro Tools.
I’ve listened to this album a lot over the last week. A lot. In the car. On my stereo. On my PC. Last.fm tells me I’ve played 30 tracks. I’ve wanted to like this album… and don’t get me wrong, it’s all right. It’s just not great. It could have been so much more than it is. It feels like Unearth want to be another band (Shadow’s Fall, perhaps? Or God Forbid?) rather than discovering exactly who they are.
If this album comes on again while I’m listening to songs on random play then I would listen, but I doubt I’d go in search of this album specifically. For a metalcore fix I’d be more inclined to go straight to God Forbid.
Review score: 45%