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Solid metalcore leaning towards deathcore - 75%

Malacoda, June 10th, 2009

Unearth’s “The March” is a solid album. It certainly packs a punch, and is far heavier than most metalcore and even deathcore that has been recently released. Overall, the album focuses on guitar leads more than anything else, and each other component of the band is mediocre compared to the guitar work.

The vocal style is effective, but unvaried. It is difficult to tell the vocalist’s screaming from his singing, which makes for a basically boring vocal approach. There are few songs with backing vocals; the album almost entirely is based off the lead vocalist’s unvaried vocal styles. “The March” is not a vocal heavy album, it prefers to focus on the guitars.

The guitars are a little hard to review for “The March”. Essentially, they can be broken down into two sections. The leads are amazing, brilliant shredding works in verses as well as in solos. Extraordinarily skillful melodic leads are used effectively not only in solos but even in verses and choruses. In addition, the guitarists manage to harmonize sweeps and legato sections to even further emphasize their skills. Note: For some reason, the sweep at the beginning of the solo in the song “Crow Killer” is extremely messy. I don’t know why, but it’s worth pointing out.

However, the rhythms are abysmal. When the guitars are not shredding, they either resort to cliché power chord patterns or to a breakdown. Unearth’s guitarists rely on breakdowns to save them when they run out of ideas instead of using breakdowns effectively. As the breakdown problem has plagued deathcore since its conception, Unearth seem to be sliding closer to that genre with “The March”. However, the melody and flow of the songs and guitar parts carries the band through and maintains their status as one of the premier metalcore bands of today.

The drumming on “The March” doesn’t stand out too much. It controls the band, driving them forward without standing out much. In general, the band’s focus is on the guitars. Likewise, the bass, when it is audible in one of its rare moments, just follows the simple rhythm guitar tracks.

On the whole, “The March” is a solid album. It’s good. It’s not great, but in a time period where every other band makes music like this, Unearth are certainly the best of the bunch.