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Review

‘Underoath’ thrives with sixth album despite rumors, personal conflicts

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September 25, 2008

On Sept. 2, 2008, the Tampa   tet, Underoath released their sixth studio album entitled “Lost in the Sound of Separation.” Two years after Underoath released their heaviest album to date, “Define the Great Line,” which was certified gold and debuted as high as No. 2 on the Billboard, much of their success was overlooked and almost forgotten as Underoath nearly went to hell and back as a band. It all began while rumors swirled around that lead vocalist Spencer Chamberlain was battling a substance abuse problem and he couldn’t get his act together. His problem led to the band dropping early off of Warped 2006.

The band approached what many speculated to be the end. It was a dark and scary time for the band. Only months later, Aaron Gillespie responded to the fan based rumors – “If there was something serious going on like that and he was in rehab, we’d have to tell the press. But it’s just not true.” The band later releasted a statement that the reason they had dropped off of Warped Tour was due to personal conflicts with each other’s religious views. They felt they need to take time off to work on friendship. And that they did, having since released a live album titled “Survive, Kaleidoscope” which interestingly enough reached No. 81 on the Billboard.

Underoath began recording “Lost in the Sounds of Separation” in March 2008 and formally released to the press the date of Sept. 2, 2008, at the end of recording in April. The title of the album was said to be derived from the lyrics of a song titled, “We Are the Involuntary.” The album has received nearly all positive feedback as is peaked to No. 8 on the Billboard within its first week. The album is much darker, heavier and borderline psychotic. “Lost in the Sound of Separation” is composed of eleven, chaotic, melodic and punch you in the mouth tracks. They cover a wide array of styles displayed by Underoath over the last decade. This album should, with a serious sit-down listen, move you. I don’t know how or what effects it will have, but if you truly take the time to look up the lyrics and delve into what a masterpiece Underoath has composed, you will forever be musically changed. This album will shock the hell of out of your cochlea with the thunderous growls from the depths of Chamberlain’s larynx. There are many melodies both done by guitar, synth and keys that will calm you, and only a mere second later, your eardrums will be blasted with rip-chords and riffs you didn’t know where possible.

The first track on the album “Breathing in a New Mentality,” reminded me much of the first track off “Define the Great Line,” “In Regards to Myself.” It started out slow, building with insane amounts of chordal anticipation, then before you even realize what hit you, Chamberlain’s howls of earsplitting vocals screaming, “I’m the desperate, and you’re the savior! There’s been something else talkin’ in my ear. Someone save me!”

This song is loads heavier than what many thought was “too heavy” on “Define the Great Line.” If you thought the last album was heavy, consider it infantile. The second track “Anyone Can Dig a Hole but it Takes a Real Man to Call it Home,” doesn’t waste a second in directing the listener where the rest of this album is going to go.

At points during the album, it seems that Chamberlain and Gillespie are clashing vocally, yet coming out in separate melodic harmonies proclaiming their faith. “A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine” keeps the pace going like a mine cart out of control with no hope of slowing down. Possibly the heaviest track on the album is “The Only Survivor was Miraculously Unharmed.” It’s something Underoath has never even attempted. With ear-shattering roars from Chamberlain combined with power cords and razor sharp riffs from guitarists Tim McTague and James Smith, the song quickly takes a turn from synthetic soothing melodies right back to in your face howling from Chamberlain. To be honest, the album doesn’t let up for one second. The only break you get vocally from Chamberlain is track 10, but even that only lasts for only three-and-a-half minutes.

The album then sets you on a rollercoaster ride into the depths of contemplation with the final track, “Desolate Earth/The End Is Here.” “Lost in the Sound of Separation” takes you from an emotional plunge known as Underoath’s struggle through their darkest times, and gives you their best effort to date, an album that you will never forget, no matter if you listen to it once or a thousand times, this album for real. This is Underoath’s way of telling the fans, there is hope for the future…for the future of this band.

Erik Wood is a student at UW-River Falls.