Underoath – Erase Me (Album Review)
Underoath – Erase Me
Released: April 6th, 2018
Aaron Gillespie // drums & vocals
Chris Dudley // keyboards & synth
Timothy McTague // lead guitar & backing vocals
Grant Brandell // bass
Spencer Chamberlain // vocals & guitar
James Smith // rhythm & lead guitar
Here we are in 2018 with a brand new Underoath album featuring the original and best lineup of the band to date. It’s been 10 years since all of these guys have been in a studio together working on new music for this exact band so as you can imagine, the hype surrounding this album is through the roof, luckily for them, Erase Me is actually a pretty decent release.
‘It Has To Start Somewhere‘ kicks off the album with a fast paced return to form for the band, this will be the moshpit inducing starter when the boys enter the stage for the first time during live shows, and if it’s not they’re missing out on capturing live audiences’ attention in an instant. Drummer Aaron Gillespie smashes away on the kit as frontman Spencer Chamberlain switches from singing to screaming with ease nowadays. The song ends abruptly and is straight into second single ‘Rapture‘ which has a more melodic/synth feel to it. In the past, I’ve never considered Underoath to be a mainstream rock band, but with this song, I can see them getting spins on radio stations up against bands like Shinedown, Pierce The Veil and Rise Against (for example). It’s catchy, has those head nod inducing vibes and plenty of sing-a-long moments.
‘On My Teeth‘ is up next and hot damn didn’t this song cause a bit of controversy with longtime fans. Who knew that saying one single “fuck” for the first time in one of your songs could cause an outcry and wave of negative feedback, luckily for the Underoath boys, this song actually rules and anyone caught up in the politics of their music really needs to take a look at themselves in the mirror. It’s fast, furious, angry and an all around great song. Kicking off with Spencer screaming his lungs out surrounded by Chris Dudley samples and synth and the blasphemous lyrics of Let’s get this straight/I’m fine without you/I’m not your fucking prey/So save yourself/And no one else. Just try and listen to that opening and not sing along yourself. The bouncing back and forth between singing and screaming adds that perfect yin/yang style to an angry and emotional song. Everything about ‘On My Teeth‘ rules, the entire band were on point and collectively worked together to produce a future classic. This is up there with some of the best songs of the year and we’re only four months into it so yes, consider that my vote for an early contender. ‘Wake Me‘ slows things down with Aaron Gillespie jumping in the vocal hot seat for a minute to showcase his talent that shouldn’t be hidden at the back of the stage. I’ve always said drummers who can sing and play at the same time deserve twice as much credit for their abilities because fuck being able to maintain a beat and remember lyrics at the same time, especially live. I can see the band’s heavier fans not enjoying this as much as the first few songs, but listen to it for what it is without expecting a drop or screaming and you’ll appreciate it more.
‘Bloodlust‘ keeps that momentum going with another melodic focused track that bounces back and forth with it’s pace and lands just shy of being classed in the heavy category. ‘Sink With You‘ sounds great as a background music song and borders on rave material at times with its synth. If you’re a gym fanatic or just need something fast paced to help get your motivation up, crank this on your portable device and “run Forrest, run“. ‘ihateit‘ for me, is the album’s ballad and as you may be aware I’m a sucker for a ballad in all aspects, but if this song was stripped back a little more it would have sounded like a perfect addition to the list of ever-growing, heart string pulling songs that capture anyone’s attention. When the chorus comes around, just try to stop yourself from belting out the words you’re the only thing that gets me high and I hate it/when I hate it. Good news for screaming fans, there’s a moment of pure release for Spencer towards the end which is guaranteed to fulfil your needs enough until the opening seconds of ‘Hold Your Breath‘ kick in. If you’ve been wondering where the heaviness was for the past few songs, you’ll be pleased to know they’ve brought it back and blended it with a melodic chorus banger that hands down, will be an exceptional live track should they decide to add it to the setlist.
As we head for the album’s climax ‘No Frame‘ is your more artistic/atmospheric styled song which feels slightly out of place following the collection of songs just played. ‘In Motion‘ will have you waving your arms back and forth in the moshpit as you struggle to find your footing after a crowd surge. At times though, and this could be because I’m tone deaf due to this flu I’m fighting, but I hear hints of blink-182‘s ‘6/8‘ song throughout. Call me out if you want, but I’m positive that may be an influence more so than a coincidence. If you love sappy, slow closing songs ‘I Gave Up‘ is just what you’ve been looking for. Sometimes when an album takes you on an adventure of the senses, both elating and soul destroying, the best way to wrap things up is with a slow jam to ease you back into the world and that’s exactly the purpose of this song here.
In closing, Underoath are certainly back with a vengeance, a purpose and are working together to get back on point again. While their last few albums haven’t resonated with fans as much as their earlier work (They’re Only Chasing Safety/Define The Great Line) I can see Erase Me becoming a new favourite in due time and if the band keep this momentum going, they’ll be at their peak again in no time.
Underoath – Erase Me tracklisting
1. It Has To Start Somewhere
3. On My Teeth
4. Wake Me
6. Sink With You
8. Hold Your Breath
9. No Frame
10. In Motion
11. I Gave Up
Erase Me is out Friday April 6th via Fearless Records/Caroline Australia. Pre-Order here
Review by Browny @brownypaul
Revisit keyboardist Chris Dudley co-hosting this week’s episode of Wall of Sound: Up Against the Wall here
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