Darkness In The Light review by Unearth

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  • Released: Jul 5, 2011
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (33 votes)
Unearth: Darkness In The Light
2

Sound — 9
"Darkness In The Light" is the fifth studio release of Massachusetts metal band Unearth, and quite frankly it could be the best one since 2004's breakthrough album "The Oncoming Storm". With this album we find Unearth getting double the help from Killswitch Engage, with Adam Dutkiewicz once again taking the audio recording reins and also Justin Foley (Killswitch Engage, Blood Has Been Shed) on the drums. Within the music, it's clear that this album takes the best elements from every album released so far and pushes them to their limits. Whether it be the urgency felt from "Stings Of Conscience" or the thrashiness of "III: In The Eyes Of Fire", it's all pushed to its finest point on this album. One of the finest qualities about this album is the songwriting and the overall flow. It's clear that this isn't a band that throws riffs and breakdowns together for the sake of making something heavy. There was definitely a lot of thought put into these songs, especially in the melodic bridge of "Watch It Burn" which features Ken Susi's singing. That part has such a strong contrast within the rest of the song, yet adds to the same feeling of urgency as the other riffs and particularly the breakdown chorus. I will say that there are two songs that really stand out to me as timeless Unearth songs and two that clearly steer Unearth in an interesting direction. The two timeless songs by Unearth are "Shadows In The Light" and "Equinox". "Shadows In The Light" is, for me, Unearth's writing at it's finest. From the fading in guitar harmony to the nuance-filled pre-chorus, this song has such a driven and passionate tone to it. The solos in this song sound absolutely amazing. "Equinox" is a chillingly heavy song which features the return to piano by bassist John "Slo" Maggard. The song features almost very shoegaze-like guitar textures which add to the depressing, negative vibe in an honestly beautiful way. The two different yet interesting songs in this album are "Ruination Of The Lost" and "Coming Of The Dark", which both feature different tunings than the other songs. "Ruination Of The Lost" features a very European-metal intro and chorus that kind of reminds me of mid-career In Flames. "Coming Of The Dark" has more of a groove to it, from the d-beat verse riff to the breakdown bridge. The riff in the breakdown bridge has a very Pantera-esque taste to it, which of course is all the more wonderful. All and all, the songwriting on this record really drives it to the top. It really goes to show that if you expand upon your roots rather than abandon them, you can still create great music while keeping the core integrity.

Lyrics — 9
On this record, we find Trevor writing a bit more from a personal perspective rather than strictly political like on previous releases. While there are still songs like "Watch It Burn" that feature politically-driven lyrics, there are a lot more songs that are based on personal strife and overcoming problems. Once again I find myself bringing up the songs "Shadows In The Light" and "Equinox", both very fine examples of this. In "Shadows In The Light", Trevor's deliverance is not only stellar, but this is probably the first time I've listened to an Unearth record where when I hear Trevor's words, I feel them. The first time I heard the pre-chorus "I've fallen all too far. Obsessed with the shadows in the light. This constant war will bring me home. This constant war will force me onward", it hit me like a sack of bricks. The vocal rhythms he implemented with those lyrics were spot on. "Equinox" is the shortest song, yet the hardest hitting with the lines "And I keep walking on to see it all fade to dust. And I keep walking on to find there's no way out". The passion and sadness exhibited in this performance legitimately moved me, as this also had perfect vocal deliverance. While songs like "Overcome" seem a bit too Massachusetts-metal cliche' in its lyrics, "We stand tall, we won't break. Side by side, we'll overcome", "Disillusion" is by far the angriest song Trevor has ever written. With the chorus alone going on about a certain sentiment of betrayal to "YOU F--KING FAILED ME", this is probably the angriest song since "My Heart Bleeds No Longer" from 2001's "Stings Of Conscience". As mentioned earlier, Ken Susi makes a return to singing vocals on select songs. While his singing was almost very mid-range and almost expressionless in past releases, there is much expression and passion in his singing on this record to the point where it is a legitimate highlight. "Watch It Burn" right from the get go is a great example of this as he sings the bridge "Can you imagine why the writing is on the walls? You're paralyzed; our hope has died". On songs such as "Last Wish" and "Overcome", his voice serves as more of an interesting texture along with Trevor's vocals. The fact that he hits the higher notes in the melodies this time around pushes each of those songs to a higher sense of dynamism. And the melodies this time around are all well thought out and executed.

Overall Impression — 9
People are going to say this is the finest effort since "The Oncoming Storm". Other people are going to say the contrary. I will say that this is probably either on level with it, or perhaps better. The dynamics in the songwriting really push it to that point. They've taken elements from their previous efforts and perfected them on this release, which for me makes it one of their best releases to date. And I'm a fan of all of their albums, but this makes 2008's "The March" look like "The Skip". Overall, this is a fantastic album, and if someone were to steal this, I'd probably get a wrecking crew on him/her.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    cytalis
    People are going to say this is the finest effort since "The Oncoming Storm"
    I totally agree. This is easily my favorite album since TOS
    6StringBlazer
    Ive looked forward to this album for so long! I got it within the first hour it was released and I was certainly not disappointed. Unearth is definitely one of my favorite bands for a reason.
    BwareDWare94
    millarso wrote: To be honest, the only thing I don't like about what I have heard of this is that it sounds like Adam D influenced their actual music. I love the guy, but when he produces for bands, they sound exactly the same. If he maybe tried different formulas for different bands, I would possibly like it more. That, and the drums covered stuff up here and there when I was listening.
    What about the latest As I Lay Dying album sounded like Killswitch? If anything, Adam D produces two bands in AILD and Unearth who are far superior to his own in the modern American metal world.
    HardAttack
    Not quite up for doing a review on this atm, but this is one of the best metal albums I've ever purchased. I bought this on a recommendation from a co-worker, and man I wasn't disappointed.
    tyler.11
    I just heard about these guys yesterday at Mayhem Festival and was blown away by them; I then immediately went to their tent bought a shirt and this CD. It's quite amazing.
    millarso
    xXChimairaXx wrote: millarso wrote: I'll give you that Underoath's is different, but that was a while ago in comparison. The first thing I thought when I heard this album was that he made As I Lay Dying and Unearth sound way too similar for two different bands. I love them both, but there are parts on each album that you could throw on the other and not realize. Even though their guitar tunings, tone/drum sound/vocals, musical style, lyrical content, etc are completely different. Other than that, yeah sure...the two bands are totally interchangeable!
    Did you read my comment at all? I noted how the two bands were different, but that the production style made them sound more similar than they should be. No need to get all sarcastic. and @ EpiExplorer... I'm not sure, but it is ridiculously cliche. Why do good bands have to pick out such shallow titles?
    The Tak
    Drastic improvement over ''The March'', I agree that there are some KSE style parts but fortunately this works in Unearth's favor. I thought it was about time Unearth refined their style and start adding more variety to their music..
    xXChimairaXx
    millarso wrote: I'll give you that Underoath's is different, but that was a while ago in comparison. The first thing I thought when I heard this album was that he made As I Lay Dying and Unearth sound way too similar for two different bands. I love them both, but there are parts on each album that you could throw on the other and not realize.
    Even though their guitar tunings, tone/drum sound/vocals, musical style, lyrical content, etc are completely different. Other than that, yeah sure...the two bands are totally interchangeable!
    xdavecorex
    Nice review !!! TBH I really heard some KSE style in this CD, especially an "Alive or Just breathing-Style" but I didnt know that Adam D.was the producer. I really like this CD a lot.
    millarso
    I'll give you that Underoath's is different, but that was a while ago in comparison. The first thing I thought when I heard this album was that he made As I Lay Dying and Unearth sound way too similar for two different bands. I love them both, but there are parts on each album that you could throw on the other and not realize.
    iH8CarAccidents
    Adam D produced UnderOath's Lost In The Sounds of Separation. That sounds nothing like Killswitch. He's just a good producer for whatever style he wants.
    BwareDWare94
    EpiExplorer wrote: BwareDWare94 wrote: millarso wrote: To be honest, the only thing I don't like about what I have heard of this is that it sounds like Adam D influenced their actual music. I love the guy, but when he produces for bands, they sound exactly the same. If he maybe tried different formulas for different bands, I would possibly like it more. That, and the drums covered stuff up here and there when I was listening. What about the latest As I Lay Dying album sounded like Killswitch? If anything, Adam D produces two bands in AILD and Unearth who are far superior to his own in the modern American metal world. Well, American quality doesn't exactly mean good quality.
    That may be true, but As I Lay Dying and Unearth are still a lot better than Killswitch Engage. Killswitch Engage has released the same album three times in a row. At least these other two grow with each release. Also, you can't deny that Ken Susi and Buz McGrath can play the hell out of their guitars.
    EpiExplorer
    BwareDWare94 wrote: millarso wrote: To be honest, the only thing I don't like about what I have heard of this is that it sounds like Adam D influenced their actual music. I love the guy, but when he produces for bands, they sound exactly the same. If he maybe tried different formulas for different bands, I would possibly like it more. That, and the drums covered stuff up here and there when I was listening. What about the latest As I Lay Dying album sounded like Killswitch? If anything, Adam D produces two bands in AILD and Unearth who are far superior to his own in the modern American metal world.
    Well, American quality doesn't exactly mean good quality.
    millarso
    To be honest, the only thing I don't like about what I have heard of this is that it sounds like Adam D influenced their actual music. I love the guy, but when he produces for bands, they sound exactly the same. If he maybe tried different formulas for different bands, I would possibly like it more. That, and the drums covered stuff up here and there when I was listening.
    phlowtron23
    If you guys check out the track "Last Wish" it sounds very very similar to August Burns Red's "White Washed" haha. Imitation is the highest form of flattery I suppose.