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   UNEARTH
The Oncoming Storm
2004
Metal Blade
http://www.unearth.tv


rating: 4,5/5

1. The Great Dividers
2. Failure
3. This Lying World
4. Black Hearts Now Reign
5. Zombie Autopilot
6. Bloodlust of the Human Condition
7. Lie to Purify
8. Endless
9. Aries
10. Predetermined Sky
11. False Idols

A metalcore band from Massachusetts. There, I said it. But wait! Don't run away, please. Admittedly, the whole notion of metalcore along with the genre itself, and really the entire NWOAHM movement is getting a little tired now and a lot oversaturated. Swedish style guitar intellect and mosh parts is what the genre is known for, and what most of the bands within strive for, never making any real ground or elevating themselves above the pack in any way. What death metal became during the mid to late nineties is what metalcore is to today's scene, by and large stagnant. There are a few bands that are exceptions to this, and Unearth is most certainly one of them. Really now folks, this band is signed to Metal-fucking-Blade Records. That should be enough to keep your interest for about another paragraph or so.

So imagine you are walking down a street and a piano falls on your head. You don't see it coming, and by the time the whole episode is over, you've no idea what just happened. Worse yet, you feel somehow detached from reality, likely because if a piano fell on your head I'm quite sure it would kill you. "The Oncoming Storm" is the piano. It won't really kill you, of course, but it will make you question why you passed up listening to Unearth. I know I did. I'm pretty sure you did, too, and it's all because Unearth are a metalcore band. Once again, dear reader, don't run away. Beginning with "The Great Disaster", Unearth are bent on breaking the rules along with a listener's prejudices about genre. With In Flames and At The Gates placed in their collective back pocket, the band proceed on their single minded mission of stupefecation. I'm not sure if that's a word, but it is now. Funny time signatures, circular grooves without beginning nor end, high-brow lyrics, great melody lines. All the winning ingredients of a great album are here, and they gel like Aquanet in Poison's dressing room in 1986. A sure standout is track three, "This Lying World", which begins with an oddly timed intro and then explodes into full on steamroller mode complete with blastbeats and a modest guitar solo, which seems really more of an expanded melody. Half a mark off for the silliness of lead throat Trevor Phipps screaming "breakdown!" midway through the track though. You know it's coming, you just do, and there is no reason to announce it. The true shock of the album comes near the end with track nine. "Aries" is a piano driven ballad with whispered vocals to start with, then Phipps screaming his heart out. It is a moving testament to the true emotion that goes into heavy metal music, and for me at least, the lyric "what fickle angels are we?" just sticks in my head. Very powerful. Things get rocking and/or rolling soon after, with "Pretedermined Sky" seeming to rip its way through the speakers, groove threatening to impale the listener like pig in a butcher shop.

All in all, "The Oncoming Storm" is a very good album and, being Unearth's second proper album, doesn't suffer from the sophomore curse. Put Unearth next to HIMSA, Lamb of God, and Shadows Fall. They deserve to lead the charge with the masters. Unearth has risen above the crowd and made their prescence felt.

submitted by Nathan 25.09.2004

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