Unearth – Darkness In the Light (Metal Blade Records)Friday, 22nd March 2013
A much harder sell than they used to be, Unearth prove that on Darkness In the Light that they’re perfectly happy with coloring in between the lines, thus crapping out their fifth album of All-American metalcore. The only saving grace here is lead guitarist Buz McGrath, who routinely bails the water out of this gradually sinking ship. The rest is beaten-to-death Swedish-inspired metalcore, which should satiate the band’s now firmly-established fanbase, while annoying those who will nitpick albums like this to no end…which may or may not include the humble scribe of this piece. You figure it out.
Nevertheless, the band can still play their assess off, and are aided by Killswitch Engage drummer Justin Foley, who adds his deft ability to groove to the proceedings, especially on “Last Wish.” The aforementioned McGrath isquick to make his presence felt on “Watch It Burn” and especially on the opening pyro of “Arise the War Cry.” In fact, McGrath is the one thing worth looking forward to in each Unearth song; just getting beyond the annoying bark of Trevor Phipps and telegraphed beatdowns is the problem. (The band would be infinitely better with a different frontman, by the way)
The usual preponderance of beatdowns happen on “Eyes of Black,” (in spite of some swift blast beats from Foley) while the quasi-Swedish thrash that takes place on “Coming of the Dark” is hardly convincing. “The Fallen” misses the mark while the band dishes out over-used melodic ideas that are so-2006, and the dedicated shout-along/call-to-arms metalcore “anthem” “Overcome” is burdened by clean vocals.
We’ll give Unearth this: They’re killer in the live setting. Few bands are asentertaining to watch, but the stolen Swedish riffs/breadown-loving gig is up.Darkness In the Light is a played-out album from a band who if they aren’t careful, could become increasingly irrelevant in this saturated market.
(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)