| Unearth is what you would call a standout metalcore band, especially since they were one of the first to popularize the act. So III: In the Eyes of Fireís release on August 8th is kind of a big deal, and Metal Blade, their record label, is sure making it out as one.
2004ís The Oncoming Storm is plentiful with lead guitar rips (yes I meant rips, not riffs) and metal groove. It has a large appeal to more of the mainstream metal fanbase, bringing sounds reminiscent of classic metal, European metal, and dare I say even nu-metal, though it was definitely in the metalcore genre.
In comparison to Oncoming Storm, III starts so much faster. The first few songs are intensely gripping and the guitar riffs are constantly evolving. Meaning, of course, less of the groovy, static metal that made the last album more accessible. People who enjoyed Unearth for their less complex side will be scratching their heads on this one. Itís okay though, someday it will make sense to you loveable oafs.
Unearthís complexity lies in the guitar riffs, the principal voice in their music. The two guitarists often play dueling riffs of equal importance, then alternating to one playing a solo while the other strums power chords. In Oncoming Storm they would switch a few times per song. In this album they switch at a rate of every two measures, a testament to the bandís structural skills.
But if thereís one thing I could say on the negative spectrum, itís that the guitarists totally steal the show. Iím not paying attention to Trevorís vocals, I canít hear the bass guitar, and the drummer doesnít have much room to innovate.
So the first few tracks are really damn good, though by the middle of the album... well, letís just say if Trevor had screamed, "Stop me if youíve heard this one before," I would have had no choice. Just when I thought the rest of the album could be ignored, around comes track eight, "So It Goes," which starts with a lead guitar much like "Zombie Autopilot," but soon the song goes in a different, better direction, without falling into the three chord, letís-take-a-break-from-doing-something-cool bridge. Instead, you get a sick ass guitar solo duel. The track that follows, "Imposterís Kingdom," is in contrast, a bottom-heavy hardcore retort.
There will be plenty of people who will find this clichť, especially since there are more metalcore bands in the world than there are STDs on the roof of Tara Reid's mouth. But I think most Unearth fans will be pleased, and this album will restate the reason why Unearth is the king of its pack. Or at least, one of the fifteen or twenty kings in the overcrowded metalcore empire.
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| III: IN THE EYES OF FIRE
Metal Blade Records
1) This Glorious Nightmare
3) March of the Mutes
4) Sanctity of Brothers
5) The Devil Has Ridden
6) This Time Was Mine
8) So It Goes
9) Imposters Kingdom
10) Bled Dry
11) Big Bear and the Hour of Chaos