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ugh... I need a shower. - 13%

Napalm_Satan, July 30th, 2016

Before Underoath became the second most egregious example of a talented metalcore band developing a unique and interesting sound only to throw it away for commercial success; they were a shitty death metal infused metalcore band with not a whole lot going for them. And like all much heavier debuts by mainstream metalcore bands of the day it really isn't worth your time; despite its supposed 'brutality'. It is a little better than the worst of their post-hardcore days; but is still far worse than its successor or either of this outfit's latter two albums. Basically it sucks, really badly.

This album is plagued by a number of issues. For instance, the vocals are terrible. Nearly as awful as the emo screams of Spencer Chamberlain around 2004 in fact. Tony Dallas' screams are very dry, incredibly pulpy, quite thin and weak, and have literally no expression or variation to them at all. They do at least obscure the lyrics; which are awful not because of their Christian bent but because they are so ham fisted and preachy. There are more eloquent, subtle and creative ways to say 'I hate abortion' and 'I love Christ' than this crap - just look at something like 'Burden in Your Hands'. Jesus wept.

This pulpy nature of the vocals would be a bit more tolerable (like on their next album) if the music was any good. It's alright in some places, with this album containing a smattering of decent death metal-ish riffs, but these riffs are broken up by a ludicrous number of lengthy breakdowns. Riffs are repeated far too often and not developed enough. The whole album is frantically and sloppily played, and topped off with its tinny and thin production (particularly that snare) the whole thing comes across as a bad rush job. Just as well, the bass can barely be heard, giving rise to a thin and clinical guitar tone. The overlong and haphazard approach to songwriting (repeating an idea ad nauseam before suddenly switching gears) cements this as a thoroughly sloppy and pretty awful piece of metalcore. Yeah its heavy compared to what this band is known for and it has riffs - but that doesn't make it any good. Underoath was good before they got big but this isn't the album people are talking about - the potential was there but they put too much time into being heavy and screaming a lot and not writing riffs and stitching them together properly. Skip this one.

And that acoustic thing with Aaron singing tacked on the end is the cringiest thing ever. Good grief are his prissy gushing cleans awful; fortunately they don't come about all that often during this album, which is a relative plus.

Breakdowns for Christ's sake! - 65%

Frod Drust, August 30th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2013, Digital, Solid State Records

Many of us know Underoath as the go to band for fat American teenage girls from around 2004 till 2008 when crabcore pioneers Attack! Attack! stole the title. But what if I told you that Underoath had a past as a death metal influenced metalcore band? Thats right, Underoath had more in common with slammers Waking the Cadaver at one point in time than the screamo genre. But is the album any good?

I will start off with the vocals first. The harsh vocals have more in common with the shrieks of Mayhem's Maniac than future post hardcore bands. They comfortably match the extreme nature of the instruments. My only problem with the harsh vocals is that they sometimes get burried under the tremolo picking melodeath sections. The clean vocals on the other hand are awful. They sound as if the band got a prepubescent male to sing them. They are the only scene element on the entire album which ruins the otherwise excellent vocal display. While on the subject of vocals, I will mention that the lyrics are terrible. A particularly bad example are the cringe inducing lyrics to the anti abortion anthem "Burden in Your Hands".

Now onto the guitars. The guitars mainly play a death metal influenced version of 90's metallic hardcore similar to early Eighteen Visions with occasional moments of At the Gates worship.There are regular NYDM style breakdowns in the vein of Suffocation and Skinless which, while certainly entertaining the first time around, all sound similar bordering on identical. This makes listening to the album in one sitting seem like a colossal task as you feel as if you are travelling through a perpetual maze where there is a generic NYDM breakdown awaiting you round every corner. This fashion of brutality for the sake of brutality is easily the albums biggest flaw. While the breakdowns get tiresome quickly, the melodeath riffs are one of the main reasons why you should listen to the album at least once. Damn! I haven't heard finer Gothenburg style riffs since I first gave With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness a listen. If you listen to the album for any reason, let it be the melodeath sections. They sound like a slightly more black metal oriented rendition of the riffs on Terminal Spirit Disease.

I will now focus on the rest of the instruments. The bass, while audible at times, is mainly dull when not smothered by the other instruments. The drums mainly fluctuate between mid paced fills and blast beats. They are probably the most consistent aspect of the album after the harsh vocals.

Overall, Act of Depression is a decent metalcore album with a few major flaws that you will be able to have an enjoyable experience with if you look past the atrocious lyrics. I would suggest this to fans of proto deathcore like early Eighteen Visions and fans of modern metalcore.

A pure love declaration - 100%

Nevertheless777, December 31st, 2009

I've read the other reviews for this album, and I can't believe my eyes: this album is considered like shit! I have a completely different opinion, so I just want to say something about this. I write this words with indignation, because I think they're great artists and they shouldn't be treated in this way!

I listened this album for the first time some years ago, when I wasn't very keen on this kind of music, and I found it a bit boring, most of all because of the length of the tracks... But some time later I decided to hear it another time, also if I wasn't very happy to do it. Well, I fell in love with this group, with this music, with these artists, and I repeat that, ARTISTS. I believe that this album is the highest expression of what being Christian means. They express their faith with such a power and a strength that only unblack bands like Antestror can do better than them. This is a faith that goes through any prejudice, through any event, and can be destroyed by nothing.

Technically speaking, they are not the best musicians ever, I know. Aaron Gillespie is a medium drummer, but he is very innovative. The same is for the guitars. The bass is quite banal, but in some bridges, when he plays alone, it's very expressive and powerful. But a special appreciation is for the singer, that is one of the very few singers that can makes you understand his feelings while listening to him singing. The very majority of the singers sings with no feelings at all, this is a fact, but also the few that feel something inside when they use their voice, are not always able to make their feelings come out. Dallas is the opposite: you hear him screaming in the title track, that deals about suicide, and you can feel all the pain, the depression and the sorrow inside him. This is the best element of their music.

Talking about the lyrics, it's obvious that being a christian-oriented band, they talk about their love for Christ, and I know that many metal fans are not so happy about this topic. But being myself christian, and a fan of the Christian Metal movement, I particularly appreciate this lyrics, because they are sometimes very original: they talk about things in a different way, from a different point of view. I'll make you an example: in the title track the theme is suicide; well, many christian bands condemn suicide, but they rarely talk about the reason why someone can be pushed to do this. Underoath, instead, write this lyrics (that is pure poetry!) using a victim of suicide as the subject, and he explains that he was pushed to suicide because of the teasing and of the isolation. So it condemns the act of suicide, but it also condemns the behavior of the people that makes someone make this tragic decision.

So Act of Depression is the perfect mix between music, expression of emotions and christian feelings, and this is the best that music, and art in general, can do. Also the following records from this band are fantastic, but this is the perfect one. I agree, of course, with my friends reviewers, that the more recent works from this band are not metal, this is for sure...

Rough start - 40%

TheBlackPlague, July 19th, 2007

The first exposure I had to Underoath's metal past was Cries of the Past. I downloaded Act of Depression (since it's out of print and I didn't feel like dropping $50+ for it on eBay) expecting close the same thing, but what I got was very different.

First of all, the production and music are more rough as they lack the polished edges that Cries of the Past has. There are no keyboards on this album and the only black metal influence is in the screechy vocals. The music itself is like death/groove-influenced metalcore with audible bass (don't get too excited, it pretty much just follows the guitars) and many tremolo picking riffs. The staccato, chuggy power chords are also omnipresent. It's definitely not an exciting album especially considering the length of the songs. The clean singing parts outright suck and Dallas has this habit of trailing-off his screams some kind of whine or whimper or something. Kind of embarrassing when listening to this with your metal friends. Other iffy parts include the weird-as-hell laughing that begins Heart of Stone and the very wussy acoustic worship song/sermon at the very end.

The lyrics are wordy, long, very bold, and straight-forward in their messages. Topics include rape, abortion, and (of course) the love of God/Jesus etc. If you're a fan of Christian lyrics and/or are dissatisfied with the way many other Christian bands write lyrics, there may be something here for you. And if you're not a Christian (like me), I guarantee that you won't be able to understand a word (unless it's sung).

Overall a rough start, but I would rather listen to this than their newer albums any day.

Wow, this sucks pig phallus. - 2%

JoeCapricorn, July 17th, 2007

I cannot dispute the fact that this is in fact metal. However… this is some of the shittiest metal I have ever heard. It’s shittier than everything on this site that has been given 0% reviews. It makes In Flames STYE look like a metal classic. This is even worse than Hellyeah! And by golly, this shit still was enough to put these faggots onto the Metal-Archives. Shameful.

At times, musically at least – ignoring the vocals – there are good parts. The lead Guitar shows that the guitar player can play guitar sometimes. I do like how they pull off tremolo picking, it comes through nicely in the mix, and these tremolo parts appear often. You can hear the bass, and the bassist can play bass enough to play in a band, but it still consists of nothing more than strumming along with the guitar, it has no identity, and it does nothing for the music except provide a bass layer. The drums are half-decent, you got some variety, but nothing much beyond that.

The vocalist? AWFUL. Absolutely awful. Emo screams galore, this guy sucks. They should’ve thrown him out when they had the chance, but no – they knew damn well that awful singers sell well, so they kept him.

It is clear with the lack of guitar solos and breakdown-a-plenty song-writing, mixed with spoken word preaching bullshit, awful vocals, and an attempt at ripping off everything heavy metal stands for, that Underoath was in for the money. The only reason I gave it a 2 is it's better than all of their latest stuff.

Now, had they ditched the vocalist, ditched the Christ bullshit, ditched the emocore, ditched the breakdowns, and added some variety, maybe Underoath would’ve been able to put out something decent after this shit-fest. However, that didn’t happen. They got worse, and for them to be listed here on the metal-archives is ironic – they stand for everything that opposes heavy metal.