Underoath - Erase Me
Review by Dom Vigil
Underoath are reborn on their new album, Erase Me. The epitome of growth and change, Erase Me finds the band exploring new sounds and themes with their first new music to be released in eight years, and somehow, an album that sounds unlike anything Underoath has ever done is about as Underoath as it gets.
Eleven tracks in length, Erase Me finds a perfect balance between aggressive, frustrated and angry bangers and melodic, emotionally driven almost-ballads. Starting things off on the right foot is the explosive opener, “It Has To Start Somewhere,” setting the tone for the songs that follow both sonically and thematically. “It Has To Start Somewhere” is about losing and reinventing yourself and coming out the other end a changed, but better person. Within just a few songs, it’ll be obvious that this is both personal to vocalist Spencer Chamberlain, but also encompasses Underoath’s journey as well.
Sonically, Erase Me is significantly more melodic than the band's previous work, but still very dynamic, and that is both its biggest strength and only weakness. “On My Teeth,” one of the album’s most aggressive tracks, sits next to “Wake Me,” which is one of the slowest and most melodic songs on the album, making for an exciting yet somewhat choppy listen. From song to song, it’s hard to see where the band is going with this release and it can seem a bit meandering at times, but when you take a step back and listen to Erase Me as a whole, it is a very cohesive release. Lyrically, each song on the album tells a story of struggling to find your identity, be it by questioning your faith, fighting addiction, or escaping a toxic relationship. Once you realize this, the sonic choices on the album quickly begin to make more sense and flow together with ease.
In fact, two of the strongest songs on Erase Me (“ihateit” and “Hold Your Breath”) couldn’t sound more different, but touch on similar subjects. While “ihateit” is very ambient and melodic, “Hold Your Breath” is aggressive and explosive, but both songs find Chamberlain struggling in lines like “God erase me / I don’t deserve the life you give,” and “Alone at the top of the world / I forgot it was safe down below.” Bringing the album to a end is the frantic “In Motion,” which contrasts beautifully with the somber closer, “I Gave Up,” which doesn’t necessarily end things on a positive note emotionally, but does leave a glimmer hope for the future of Underoath.
Erase Me marks a massive change and new beginning for Underoath. Unlike anything the band has released thus far, this album is sure to alienate a few fans, but for most die-hards, it’ll only remind them why they fell in love with Underoath to begin with. Instead of sticking to a formula that has given Underoath success for years, the band is taking a risk with this release, and in that regard, Erase Me is a total success. By focusing on making powerful songs, regardless of how they’re supposed to sound, Underoath have created one of their most diverse and emotionally powerful releases to date, and it's one hell of a comeback.
LISTEN TO: "It Has To Start Somewhere" "Hold Your Breath" and "In Motion"
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