Sound — 10
Their sound has moved from that 'popcore' sound to an awesome metal essence. I showed a friend who's been an Underoath fan for a while and he didn't recognize them at first, all he said was 'these guys are metalcore!' But what defines alot of this album is it's not just heavy music the whole way through. Tracks like Salmarnir, Casting Such A Thin Shadow, and To Whom It May Concern, all show the emotional side of the band's instrumentals. Also, the use of an e-bow on the guitar tracks for the latter two added a great effect. The way that Tim, Grant, and James put together the strings riff's in more of a style like The Chariot or Norma Jean is too cool. Aaron's drumming is like wow. Returning Empty Handed is a handful just to listen to all the different hit's he's making. Then Spencer's vox have gone from that screamo to the full on hardcore growl, reminiscent of Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying. Accompanied by Aaron's higher punk voice, the two never seem to clash but work together great. Overall sound is a great improval, although They're Only Chasing Safety was a great album too.
Lyrics — 10
Right away, I saw the lyrics in this album were well thought out and full of meaning. None of the songs disappointed this thought. Like To Whom It May Concern's lyrics are all about keeping your head up (as far as the intro with Aaron), which is great for all the kids experiencing depression. Music is a huge part of culture nowadays, and these guys are setting it all out in the right way. It's so cool Underoath is moving up and getting into the mainstream, with lyrics like what they have on Define, they're certain to have a good effect.
Overall Impression — 10
This album definitely has a metal feel, even more of a core feel to it, which is awesome. Spencer's vocals compare mostly to Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying, and Matt Heafy from Trivium. The string instrumentals compare I'd say to The Chariot or Norma Jean (who Josh Scogin shaped both, maybe he's got an effect). The drums on this album are killer, Aaron is a crazy drummer. Songs like Returning Empty Handed (my personal fav), Moving For The Sake Of Motion, and In Regards To Myself are the heaviest tracks of the album. The intro riff on Regards is complete reminiscence of Norma Jean. To me, it's too cool that they're staying with their hardcore/metal roots and still taking a huge part in the music scene.