And now, a word from Mogli
Mogli here again with some reviews long overdue. Ethan beat me to the Cloudkicker review, but here are a few other albums that I’m finally getting around to writing about.
Underoath – Disambiguation
A small disclaimer: this band, as Soda said, is ostensibly Christian metalcore. I, being an atheist metal elitist, would be given to a bias against this band. But for the purposes of being a fair-minded music lover, I decided to give these guys a fair shake. That being said, I also have little to no knowledge of Underoath’s output previous to this record, so please excuse me for not having that context.
To the record at hand, Disambiguation is not terrible and has redeeming qualities. The vocals aren’t as atrocious as other vocalists in the burgeoning scene; the singer is understandable and articulate if one has the ear and the care to listen to the lyrics. He also has true singing capabilities that fall more into an “emo” vein. Furthermore, Underoath may be entering into the period in their career where they try to push themselves creatively. Many of the songs aren’t quite the scream-your-bloody-head-off one would expect but are instead more akin to post-metal, with more expansive and ambient parts than straight ahead thrashing. Electronic bits also show up occasionally in transitions between tracks, and those are a point of contention personally. Furthermore, the hooks, be they melodic guitar, slide guitar, or synthesizer, seem to be more engaging then most of the riffs, the meat of the songs. Also, several times within the record, otherwise good songs seem to be derailed by contrived “radio-friendly” elements.
Overall, I’d say that Disambiguation is an ok-good record, but I could hear the elements of metalcore and post-metal from other bands executed in a more engaging way, and the combination of styles isn’t done well enough to make me give the record a very enthusiastic recommendation. However, I would encourage others to take a listen and make their own judgment.
Recommended tracks: 3, 4, 6. My caveat about “otherwise good songs” applies to some of the tracks on that backside if one would like to try them.
Baptized in Blood – Baptized In Blood
This self titled debut is the best straightforward metal release the station has gotten since I arrived last semester. Baptized In Blood make very good modern metal, combining a heavy reliance on Gothenburg-style melodic guitar work within and outside of solos, hardcore vocals, and metalcore elements (breakdowns), all of which are executed to great effect. The album is loaded with hooks; again, the band has a good ear for melody, but they are also able to bring the thrash and the groove. The record isn’t perfect though. The lyrics toe the line between simple/straightforward/sincere and stupid, and when the singer crosses that line, it’s off-putting. In the liner notes, none of the band members are credited with playing drums, and the drums are pretty fake, though the parts fit the songs well. Finally, some of the songs are filler, though they sound good in context of the whole. Baptized In Blood is good-time accessible metal without being terribly sell-out (no clean vocals!) and not all about partying (Municipal Waste, anyone?). Give it a spin if you like Killswitch Engage, In Flames, or Unearth.
Recommended tracks: 1, 3, 4, 12 if I had to pick.
P.S. to DJs: Some of the tracks I recommended are debatably obscene, and some of the tracks that seem clean according to the liner notes have f-bombs that aren’t notated. Play at your own discretion in any case.
That’s all for now from me! Keep coming back to the blog for more music reviews. I know I check it a few times a week looking for new stuff, and you should too.