Unearth – Darkness In The Light – Review

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The one trait no one can claim the Massachusetts-based five piece metalcore band Unearth has, is inconsistency. Even at the beginning of their career in 1998, with the aggressive and melodic efforts “Above The Fall Of Man” and “The Strings Of Conscience,” they set a bar and crafted formula that has echoed, not only through out their latter albums, but through peer’s efforts as well. The band has rode the American metalcore wave that acts like Lamb Of God, Shadows Fall, and Killswitch Engage had, but managed to come out more whole and determined (minus the loss of their drummer Derek Kerswill). Similarly, efforts such as the Unearth classic, “The Oncoming Storm” and albums “In The Eyes Of Fire” and “The March,” while never abandoning an outlined momentous formula, have never alienated fans or let them down.

Which is why it’s no surprise that Unearth‘s fifth studio album, “Darkness In The Light,” carries similar characteristics as their previous efforts. And while some metalcore elitists will claim from the very beginning, “enough is enough! They need to progress and evolve a new sound,” I suggest we consider that if a formula isn’t broken, why fix it? I have always been a fan of the bands furiously precise and melodic style, which includes Trevor Phipps‘ staggering shouts, (which have gotten more fierce this time around) the dual guitar power-house of Ken Susi and Buz McGrath, and of course the rolling percussion which matches the powerful chugs perfectly.

With Killswitch Engage guitarist and producer-extraordinare  Adam D. at the producing helm, it’s no wonder that songs with blazing solos, melody-filled choruses, and serenading clean vocals, surface all over the record, ie. one of the more even-handed (both melodic and heavy) songs, “Shadows Of The Light.” There is also a much more focused approach to the bands fretwork, this time around. Sure, Ken (who is known for soloing with his guitar behind his head live) has always provided a rigorous guitar dexterity, but tracks like “Arise The War Cry” stand as testaments to the groups talent and improvement.

Of course the only problem anyone ever has with Unearth is how much of their music, song structures, and transitions, never seem change and there is truth to that. Chugging is often used as filler, and Trevor’s vocals can start to sound like a dry-throated dog barking after awhile. But with a haste-fully injected addition of intricate and vicious fretwork, exploration into all things melodically serenading, as well as a concentration on balancing clean vocals, “Darkness In The Light” feels like a breath of fresh air from Unearth that was sorely needed. [Staff]

Score 3.5 (out of 5)

Release Date: July 4th, 2011
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Metalcore

RIYL: Lamb Of God, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage

Track Listing:
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
7. Equinox
8. Coming Of The Dark
9. The Fallen
10. Overcome
11. Disillusion

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