REVIEW: "Erase Me" By UNDEROATH
Post-Hardcore, Alternative Rock/Released April 6th, 2018
It's been a long eight years since Florida's Underoath have released an album. And in that time the band has been through a great deal of conflict and change. A farewell tour and break up in 2013 that preceded their eventual reunion in 2015. Side projects from various members of the band and, as stated in several interviews, the loss of their Christian faith and recovery from drug use. New album Erase Me reflects these changes in much of its lyrics and in it's title.
With the band's large fan base and the length between albums, there was a lot of hype surrounding Erase Me's release. This was compounded with a quality lead single in the track "On My Teeth". A chaotic, aggressive track featuring some of the band's trademark industrial elements that balances the fury with an earworm chorus that displays some nice vocal interplay from Spencer Chamberlain and drummer Aaron Gillespie. The song is also the first Underoath track released with profanity, a trait that drew ire from the band's Christian heavy fan base.
As you dive deeper into the album however you'll hear that the band has shifted to a more rock-focused sound. The song structures are more conventional with radio-ready hooks that even go beyond the melody displayed on their 2004 album They're Only Chasing Safety. Frontman Spencer Chamberlain is the dominant force in most of the songs, displaying even greater confidence in his melodic range and even when he does go into a screaming register it's nowhere near as aggressive or guttural as most of his previous work with the band. "On My Teeth", "Hold Your Breath", and opener "It has To Start Somewhere" are the only truly aggressive songs to be found and even then these songs still maintain a strong sense of melody.
Underoath do display an ability to wield this melodic sound with a level of adeptness. The band's Nine Inch Nails inspired industrial elements help give these melodic moments a more unique flavor than most. Songs like "Rapture" and "ihateit" have undeniably catchy hooks that'll stay stuck in your head for quite a while and are sure to go over well live with their capability for crowd sing-a-longs. Still, this melodic focus is likely to alienate the band's long time fans who are expecting heavier fare than what's put on display here.
Despite the time in between albums and the shift in sound, Erase Me is a solid body of work. Outside of maybe "Bloodlust" and "Sink With You" there's no notably weak tracks but there's a lack of stand out ones as well. "On My Teeth" and "ihateit" are the main songs that seem like they could stand as long time live staples. But as for the rest of the album this type of sound has been heard and performed better by bands like Bring Me The Horizon and We Came As Romans. Erase Me isn't a bad record by any means, but for a heavy hype comeback album, it's a let down compared to the rest of Underoath's quality discography.