Underoath - Disambiguation

Album cover
Experimental, Metalcore, Post-hardcore
Solid State Records
Underoath
Disambiguation
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After releasing They’re Only Chasing Safety, the album responsible for spawning more bands than there are worth remembering, Tampa, FL-based Underoath has certainly taken the path less traveled when it comes to their brand of experimental metalcore/post-hardcore. But when we all took a collective deep breath following the departure of drummer/vocalist Aaron Gillespie, it could only be guessed at where this band would go to follow up their critically acclaimed sixth full-length Lost in the Sound of Separation. Regardless of what they’d done before, the band took everything in stride and created another behemoth of sound with Ø (Disambiguation), an album meant to stand as a testament to the layered, atmospheric and often heavy sound this band has nurtured over their past few records.

From the first moments in the brooding opening number “In Division,” there is never a doubt Underoath has any plans to falter on this record. Hinging between manic and dark, our first taste of this album boasts a chunky guitar riff over off-kilter drums and vocalist Spencer Chamberlain’s crisp growl. The track is a prime example of what this album is able to do: shift seamlessly between the moods portrayed by Chamberlain and company, including new drummer Daniel Davison (ex-Norma Jean) who provides an ample replacement and undoubtedly gives this band the backbone they needed to keep going. Whether it is the relentless “Illuminator,” the mellow, yet wonderfully pieced together “Driftwood” or the thundering “My Deteriorating Incline,” this record shows a band able to take on a diverse array of timbres without sounding awkward or out of place.

It also seems odd to have been worried about whether Chamberlain could carry the vocal torch all by himself. If we take a quick listen back to tracks from his debut with the band on They’re Only Chasing Safety, it is undoubtedly apparent the amount of maturation Chamberlain in the three albums since then, as he proves himself more than competent to shoulder the microphone regardless of the approach his voice decides to take through his vocal chords. His croon fits perfectly during the weaving guitar melodies on ender “In Completion,” while his bark is mightier than ever as tracks like “A Divine Eradication” and “Illuminator” provide the perfect compliment to the abrasive arrangements penned on this record.

More often than not, bands are watering down their sounds or taking away pieces to attract more fans and squeeze in more radio play. Underoath is not one of those bands. Further challenging listeners with jarring time signatures and a chameleon-like songwriting approach, Underoath stands atop the mountain not only for their willingness to push the envelope, but for their unwavering desire to carry on.

1. In Division
2. Catch Myself Catching Myself
3. Paper Lung
4. Illuminator
5. Driftwood
6. A Divine Eradication
7. Who Will Guard The Guardians
8. Reversal
9. Vacant Mouth
10. My Deteriorating Incline
11. In Completion

Underoath (occasionally typeset as underOATH or UNDERØATH) is an American band originally formed on November 30, 1997 in Ocala, Florida, but since then, have re-located to Tampa, Florida, which was home to some of their newer members. The band's line-up consists entirely of Christian members. They are currently signed with Solid State Records, a subsidiary of Tooth and Nail Records, and are the label's most popular group.

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