January 31, 2007

CD Review: Unearth - III: In the Eyes of Fire

Unearth is an act that I had heard of, but allowed to slip beneath the radar due to my own preconceptions. Yes, I know I shouldn't allow things like that to happen, but with so much in the entertainment industry that I want to get to things like this happen. I unconciously will assign impressions to certain things, which pays off, in some cases, as the exact opposite of what I expected actually turned out to be the truth. Unearth is one of those happy discoveries.

My initial preconceived notion had lumped them in with the screamo acts that have been all the rage, that have failed to win me over. For some reason, I never stopped to consider that they may be more along the lines of Killswitch Engage, Mastodon, and As I Lay Dying, all of which have won me over with their metalcore style. The blending of hardcore (another genre I do not have great affection for, although there are some seriously killer acts), and metal is a stroke of genius. It may be a passing fad, a curious subgenre that will run its course, and if it is it will have produced some standout acts, including Unearth. If it does stand the test of time, I think Unearth may be looked to as one of the premiere acts and a readon for its continued success.

III: In the Eyes of Fire is an insane album. It is filled, from start to finish, with insanely heavy riffs, precision drumming, crunchy breakdowns, bellowed vocals, and enough melody to make your head spin. Unearth is in impressive union of pit chugging hardcore and technical prowess that will put whatever preconceptions you may have on their ear.

The album was produced by Terry Date (Pantera, Deftones), and he has given the album a wonderful sheen that does nothing to temper the sharp edges. The production is sharp, clean, well mixed, and is set to blow the covers off your speakers. The guitars have a sharp edge, the drums have a crisp snap, the vocals are powerful and right in front of you. There is a distinct feeling of energy running rampant. There is no holding back. You now how you will occasionaly hear an album and it sounds like the band is holding back? This is especially true if you have experienced the same band live. Well, none of that is present here, despite the high production value, there is a raw edge that burns throughout the album.

Once you press play you have to be prepared as there is no turning back. Once the breakneck energy of "The Glorious Nightmare" hits, you will be sucked into the ride. Keep your eyes on the likes of "March of the Mutes" with its opening reminiscent of ...And Justice for All era Metallica and catchy melodic riffs, "Sanctity of Brothers" with speedy pit chugging riffs, "This Time Was Mine" which is just incredible, and "So it Goes" with its melody which is reminiscent of Iron Maiden before it cuts loose. That doesn't even get to the outright fury of "Imposters Kingdom" and "Giles," or the instrumental beauty of "Big Bear and the Hour of Chaos."

Bottomline. I have to be honest, this album is pretty damn good. This is a band that remembers where thrash came from, and they have studied the best and incorporated it into their arsenal. Unearth is an impressive act, from the bloody throated screams from Trevor Phipps, to the insane guitar duo of Ken Susi and Buz McGrath, and the precision rhythm section of drummer Mike Justian and bassist John Maggard. This album is edgy and rough, yet it is the product of a band that is maturing, they have the talent and are sure to leave a mark.

Highly Recommended.


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