In the ever changing world of music, bands and genres come and go.
Metalcore was born in the late 90 and rose in the mid-00s to spawn a substantial amount of bands. Some rose above and created music that has became reknowned within the genre and others just copied, failed miserably and faded away into the bargain bin at second hand stores.
Fortunately for Boston’s Unearth, they fall into the former category. As one of the forefathers of the sound, they created a benchmark by delivering heavy crushing grooves combined with technical musicianship that made them stand out from the rest. On their fifth studio release Darkness in the Light, they continue on in their established style with some odd curveballs along the way.
“Watch It Burn” is no slouch as the opener, delivering a crushing and rhythmic groove and Trevor Phipps’ barking vocal attack. If that was already flattened you, pick yourself up and prepare for the oncoming storm. Unearth delivers a one-two punch throughout, with a little bit of everything thrown in. “Ruination of the Lost”, “Eyes of Black”, “Arise the War Cry” and “Disillusion” combine the trademark heavy groove with some insane fretwork from Buz McGrath and Ken Susi. “Coming of the Dark” draws upon the band’s hardcore influences from their early days. “Shadows of the Light” and “Last Wish” heavily utilise a European metal influence that always seems to rear its head on Unearth albums. “The Fallen” has so much of it, I could have sworn I was listening to old In Flames but enough of Unearth’s identity remains.
Unearth has also thrown in something different adding clean, borderline pop punk backing vocals from Susi. On first listen, I was intrigued and confused. If it had come from Killswitch Engage, it would work with flying colours. But for Unearth it seems to take away from the bulldozing vocal impact and it’s like that elusive puzzle piece that’s been wedged in but doesn’t fit. Kudos for the band for trying something outside the box, but they have a formula that didn’t need that little change.
Darkness in the Light is another solid release from the Unearth crew. It has enough of the heavy, formulaic crushing groove and technicality that they are known for with the odd deviation from the norm that adds something that can lift fists into the air or raise eyebrows. Regardless, they still wipe the floor with many of their contemporaries and will likely do so throughout their career.
1. Watch it Burn
2. Ruination of the Lost
3. Shadows of the Light
4. Eyes of Black
5. Last Wish
6. Arise the War Cry
8. Coming of the Dark
9. The Fallen