I can’t say I’ve ever been a real big fan of UNDERØATH. I mean, I knew who they were but never really paid them any mind, despite several members of the A&GS staff telling me to do so. Well, all that changed with the release of this, their first album in eight years, Erase Me (out now, Fearless Records). From start to finish this is a record chock full of heavy songs with an electronic flair, and anthems aplenty for those who want to raise their fists in the air. Lucky for the fans, the band realized during their 2013 tour that the music they made transcended everything, and as they kept touring the question of whether or not they should make a record was more and more on their minds. Thankfully they decided to do album number six.
From the opening strains of “It Has to Start Somewhere” it is abundantly clear that UNDERØATH means business and is out for blood this go’ round. Spencer Chamberlain (vocals) sings with a conviction that is hard to deny, while guitarists James Smith and Tim McTague lay out a sonic tapestry that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. First single “On My Teeth” is one of those songs that when it was released I sent so many of my friends the YouTube video going, “Hey, check these fucking guys out!!”. Awesome track, and one of the album’s best, hands down.
The keyboards of Chris Dudley are front and center for “Wake Me”, and it’s got a catchy hook for sure. Meanwhile “Sink With You” is all over the place with drummer Aaron Gillespie and bassist Grant Brandell leading the charge. A change of pace comes in “ihateit”, and once again this is one of the album’s best songs, especially on the chorus. Meanwhile “Hold Your Breath” is arguably the heaviest tune on the disc, as well as my personal favorite. Oh man, that chorus will stick with you for days! “Rapture” is pretty standard fare. Not that it’s bad, just feels like I’ve heard it before.
I had no idea where “No Frame” was going at first, but it wound up headed in a really cool direction. Plus the vocal harmonies are pretty fucking sweet, right? “In Motion” is also one of the heavier tracks found on this album, and it has a pendulum swing coupled with an infectious hook that should drive fans wild. Closing things out is “I Gave Up”, a rather simple and understated number at first featuring Chamberlain and Dudley in the foreground, while the rest of the band comes in and never once overplays or overwhelms. The vibe gets a bit louder and more rock-like, but it’s still pretty subdued for an album closer.
So at the end of the day my first real experience with UNDERØATH was a great one. I can’t believe I never really got into them before this new record. But rest assured, if they come to Philly for a tour supporting Erase Me, I’ll be there in a heartbeat. Pick up your copy today…you’ll be glad you did.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Hold Your Breath”, “ihateit”, “On My Teeth”, “In Motion”, “It Has to Start Somewhere”