After 13 years and seven studio albums, metalcore giants Underoath are finally hanging up their hats - but not>"/>
Anthology 1999-2013 Solid State Nov. 6
After 13 years and seven studio albums, metalcore giants Underoath are finally hanging up their hats - but not without first releasing an anthology of their greatest hits, spanning from 1999's Act of Depression through 2010's Ø (Disambiguation.)
The record plays in reverse chronological order, beginning with "Sunburnt" and "Unsound," the final new releases from Underoath, and progressing through to "Heart of Stone" from Act of Depression. Like most bands, their new sound is only a shell of where they first started in Tampa, Fl. "Sunburnt" tinkers with brief digital sampling before opening up to a burst of heavy metalcore mixed with soaring clean vocals. The shift in sound lies predominately in the extensive lineup changes that have taken place since the group's inception.
The new singles feature Daniel Davison, the founding drummer of Norma Jean, replacing drummer and clean vocalist Aaron Gillespie. This change was the final nail in the original lineage: Gillespie was the only remaining member from the groups formation in 1997, who has since continued as the frontman and vocalist of Christian rock band The Almost. Davison is much more of a traditional hardcore drummer - talented and clutch, but replaceable. Gillespie was the backbone of Underoath's sound, much like Travis Barker is for Blink-182. Losing him, in my opinion, was reason enough to call it quits.
There aren't many surprises as far as the track listing goes. The group has had enough success where an iTunes shuffle of their discography would sell well, though the inclusion of "I've Got Ten Friends and a Crowbar That Says You Ain't Gonna Do Jack," a lesser known bonus track from 2004's They're Only Chasing Safety, digs deep enough into the catalogue to make for a fantastic album. The single, my personal favorite, was the best thing screamer Spencer Chamberlain and Gillespie ever created together. A perfect mix of harsh, intense screaming and beautiful, light singing, all building into some of the best heavy moments across any of their albums.
Anyone who jumped onto the Underoath bandwagon with the group's success on Safety might feel a tad lost on the final three tracks, which boast the signature airy, brash vocals of Dallas Taylor, the band's original screamer. Taylor was pivotal in rooting the band in metal, a stark contrast from the screamo influence after Chamberlain joined. "When The Sun Sleeps," easily the top single from 2002's The Changing of Times, brings in the final stretch of the record and closes out with something familiar for long time fans.
Underoath managed to break out and gain commercial success in a genre typically left in the background of most musical catalogues. But a look at their musical growth is arbitrary without looking at the full picture - a band is only as good as its members, and each record represents an entirely different direction. An original release. No two Underoath albums are exactly the same. Underoath is a band that boasts more former members than current members - a group of four that will end with an entirely different group of six. But as a single snapshot of Underoath's career, Anthology is a success. It's hard to sprinkle seven albums across 17 tracks, but the result is something that any fan should feel nostalgic to hear.