Underoath is a name immediately recognised by everyone who enjoys rock and post-hardcore, even if they’ve never listened to a single Underoath record. As a band renowned for experimenting with sound and consistently pushing boundaries with releases, the announcement they made in 2012 regarding their disbandment was met with great sorrow.
Now, the band are back on the scene with their newest musical venture Erase Me, the latest addition to the band’s impressive back catalogue. All alternative bands that have been around for ten years or more will know that it’s important to switch up their sound to remain current and attract new audiences, and this album is no different.
Opening with the aptly titled ‘It Has to Start Somewhere’, swelling synths and punchy drums give way to gritty guitars and Spencer Chaimberlain’s urgent vocals. There is raw and powerful emotion woven into the entirety of Erase Me but Underoath’s new, more familiar sound softens the blow of the painful lyrics.
This 11-track LP is jam-packed with angst and brutal honestly, yet there is little variation in the music. While this makes for an easy listening, a band as experimental and experienced as Underoath should have the ability to produce an album that is much more out there. Despite barely deviating from the tried-and-tested formula of heavy guitars, harsh vocals, and interesting synths, there are some clever moments in this album; ‘Wake Me’ has a very poppy feel and a catchy chorus, while ‘Bloodlust’ plays with contrasting sounds.
With its gentle intro that offers a brief respite from the brisk pace of most of the LP, the contrast between the verses and choruses in ‘IHateIt’ are unlike most: the raw power in Chaimberlain’s vocal transforms to something soft and delicate in the smallest of time-frames. Continuing the trend of contrast is ‘No Frame’, a song that is immediately captivating with wavering synths and eerie vocal layers. This quickly explodes into a cacophony of industrial electronica and droning guitars, highlighting this as the one song to summarise the growth and progress that Underoath have made as a unit.
Massive choruses and fiercely honest lyrics feature throughout this album that must have been cathartic to write, and while Underoath have never been a band to stick to the same thing for long, the slightly new direction that Erase Me takes is sure to divide their fans. Erase Me is an album crafted from various inspirations, and the gentlest of tracks can become something entirely different in a split second, and the content of the lyrics is what sets this apart from other post-hardcore releases. Whatever the opinion of it, Erase Me is sure to create a buzz and gain attention from heavy music fans everywhere.