Had a bunch of new things to listen to, but this was top of my list so here’s what I think.
Firstly, let me clarify a few things.
1 – I love Unearth, they are one of my all time favourite bands. They are a bunch of extremely talented musicians who write exceptionally skilled songs that I can really get into! Wish I could play them though!
2 – I don’t hate this album. It is not shit. So while you’re reading this thinking “fuck you, it’s ace” and you’re thinking I don’t like it, you are wrong.
3 – When I started this blog I said I’d give an honest opinion and wouldn’t pussy-foot about, so here’s one on one of my fave bands.
4 – Buz McGrath is my hero… after Slash.
OK, my initial problem with ‘Darkness in the Light’ was that it just didn’t sound like Unearth! I heard one song that they’d streamed before the CD came out, and it sounded a little different, but still pretty damn good (good enough that I felt the need to comment on twitter – something I rarely do!), so I was eager to hear what the rest of ‘Darkness in the Light’ would be like.
As with all Unearth albums, this one is a host of well thought out riffs and exceptional guitar work, complimented by thundering bass and drums and finished with Trevor Phipps’ excellent vocals to create an album full of catchy songs. Unfortunately, in parts the music sounds more like Killswitch Engage and All That Remains than Unearth! See, I can’t hate it ‘cause I love those bands too!! Also, I say ‘unfortunately’ but there’s nowt wrong with sounding like those two bands! Maybe that s part of it. Lodged in my mind is the Killswitch sound as they have Justin ‘J-Fo’ Foley playing drums on this CD. Anyway…
Unearth have a solid riffing style that while melodic is hard edged and very unique to them. Some of the riffs on ‘Darkness..’ feel even more melodic and, well, happy. It’s not even down to the addition of a clean vocal, which while very good, still isn’t Unearth. I understand the need to branch out and try different things, but I feel like this one has branched out into a realm that has been tried and tested by Unearth’s contemporaries, while the genre that they virtually created is the one they should be building on.
There are few metal bands out there that can match Unearth in this style, the nearest I can think of being Parkway Drive. Buz and Ken’s stand out melodic hardcore metal riffs and Trevor’s unique vocal make Unearth a great band. Not to mention Slo’s driving bass-lines and (enter drummer here)’s pounding beats.
So, that was pretty much what I thought on my first few listens. In my head, I was looking for the differences and not hearing the similarities. Having given it several more listens I can clearly hear the filthy Unearth sounds blazing through. There are some nasty riffs on here mixed in with the melodies, and some extra groove-driven snippets in there too! Yes, I can still hear similar sounding bits from other bands, but they don’t spoil the songs. I was just looking for them and found them!
Opener ‘Watch it Burn’ is a mix of Unearth goodness. Some chunky riffs, melodic guitar and clean vocals. ‘Shadows in the Light’ is another catchy tune with a hooky chorus. ‘Arise the War Cry’ is just awesome and ‘Eyes of Black’ has been on constant rotation due to that awesome groovy riff at about 2:05. Classic stuff.
So, no, I don’t hate this album. In fact, it’s bloody brilliant. It’s just not quite the Unearth I love, whilst at the same time being very much Unearth! Well, in my eyes anyway. And I’m not one of those people who only likes the older stuff of certain bands as ‘The March’ is my fave Unearth album! Very closely followed by ‘The Oncoming Storm’. Regardless of my thoughts on ‘Darkness in the Light’, I will still listen to it to death and am definitely going to see them on their upcoming UK tour! WHICH IS THIS WEEK!!!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!