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Get Laid (For Christ) - 24%

OzzyApu, October 1st, 2012

This is two shades heavier and less demeaning than They're Only Chasing Safety. The gushy clean vocals, accessible guitar leads, phenomenal number of breakdowns, and developed-world suburban angst are discomforting. This is the band's attempt at trying to refine emo / post-hardcore and make it a footstep in the direction of being respectable. The crystalline production makes this super crisp sounding, and such glossy music is so fitting. However, the music is anything but compatible, as catchy, heavy, godly, dishonest screamo, and the goal to be gripping try to merge and fail pitifully (except for one track). Define The Great Line is defined by easy hooks, poppy choruses, tenuous rhythms, forced vocals of both styles, and electronic filler. It's just an embarrassment.

This is boy-band mainstream rock led primarily by squeaky screaming, frustratingly catchy clean vocals, and layers of clean guitar texturing. Not to the level of the previous album, but c'mon, the band didn't move forward much in their attempt to get heavier. The anthemic tone, metallic demeanor, and introspective vibe fall through the cracks between unnecessary feedback, squelched harshness, fumbling distortion, and candid, contrived hooks. This is textbook laziness with a sprinkle of being less whiny, which can be said about the lyrics overall, too. I get trying to make yourself seem humble and weak without Jesus, but these are sickly lyrics with even worse throaty, mad-at-girlfriend screams and pubescent clean crying / singing expressing them. Double this duo up with this streamlined alternative rock in post-hardcore filler and it makes for an album with too much to say (with little of it being of value).

The one song that's very unlike Underoath in this period is "Casting Such A Thin Shadow". Within this realm of breakdown dependent metalcore / post-hardcore glistening in suburban agony and turmoil is a song that turns out being the best thing the band would write until Ø (Disambiguation). Without hyping too much, if you enjoy post-rock, then you'll love this song. This song represents an Underoath with lush build-ups containing lots of ambient-like guitar harmonies, intense zest in the riffs, crafty flow, delectable atmosphere, and vocals that are pretty good (bearable at worst). This is Define The Great Line as it could and should have been.

Interest does not wane with "Casting Such A Thin Shadow," but every other track fails in their own way. Nitpicking good parts would be a waste since nothing amounts to a higher level of praise. Breakdowns and flaky riffs with tasteless drumming and progression had to go through a major change to be of any use. The keyboards / programming ought to have been dropped, as they added practically nothing besides some acceptable lines and atmosphere support. Their role in this band is overstated to the point where it hurts more than it helps. Well, many years too late to expect that kind of a change.

Not a great line, but it's not bad. - 60%

eyes_of_apocalypse, August 31st, 2012

I remember growing up in the metalcore generation. In those days, I was just discovering metal in a family that has no taste for metal whatsoever; as such, those bands such as Bullet for My Valentine, Trivium, and namely Avenged Sevenfold really pulled me in. Among those bands was Underoath, whom I discovered due to an old friend exposing me to "Writing on the Walls" from this album. At that point, I considered those albums perfect and spent months and even years listening to them as I slowly delved into "true" metal or whatever one wishes to name it.

Fast forward to now, a time where my favorites list is cluttered with bands such as Opeth, Amorphis, Blind Guardian, and other such artists. Those same metalcore albums I used to love I no longer enjoy the same as I used to (aside from Avenged Sevenfold and some Trivium; those bands receive way too much hate), and Define the Great Line is no different.

From an objective and more experienced viewpoint, I believe the key to accepting this album is the viewpoint indeed: this is either a resplendent post-hardcore album (a genre I have always deeply loathed, even during my metalcore days), or a semi-generic metalcore album. Therein may be why the latter era of Underoath receives so much criticism: if one cannot accept this as a hardcore album, he will not accept this as an album worthy of any time at all.

The songwriting is actually quite good for the most part. "Moving for the Sake of Motion" has always been the biggest highlight for me, with slick riffing and an overall enjoyable atmosphere. "To Whom It May Concern" twists the heavy atmosphere on its side, delivering a smooth yet enjoyable and perhaps even emotional experience. On the other hand, songs like "Returning Empty Handed" and "Casting Such a Thin Shadow" work as the antithesis to the songs above, seeming insincere and unnecessary. Then there's "Sālmarnir" - minimalistic and just pointless, with little going on and little reason to exist. Overall, the riffing is generally good enough; the problem with it is when it veers into metal territory. The hardcore-style riffs are good and enjoyable, but the metal riffs seem stale and trite - they are blended well, often times making one difficult to distinguish from the other. In both cases, the song structure is never anything more than simple in rhythm, and rarely deviates from the norm in terms of song structure in any way differently from most other hardcore bands. What this basically means is anybody expecting anything remotely complex or "progressive" is going to hate this.

Another thing that mars the album is the vocals. By all rights, Spencer Chamberlain is a good vocalist, and I certainly prefer him ahead of their previous vocalist. I think he has a great growl, and his hardcore scream is actually good too, though I could go without that. The clean singing is what will drag this album down for any metal fan: it is a textbook example of the emo singing style. There's nothing that separates Aaron's vocals from the hordes of other hardcore bands. I don't think his vocals are bad per se, but it's not what a metal fan is looking for, either in tone or delivery; furthermore, sounding completely unoriginal is nothing but a detriment to the album. That said, there are moments where I believe the vocals to be delivered well, namely in "Writing on the Walls" and "To Whom It May Concern."

Lyrically, this is another bust for the metal elitist, but I honestly believe the lyrics to be good. They're not poetic by any means, but they are an expression of emotion in the best way a hardcore band can do. There's no depression, no wishes of one's own death or the death of one who harmed the writer, and there's no immature idiocracy like one would find in bands such as Blood on the Dance Floor. They are a testament to the struggles of life and an admittance of the writer's faults, in hopes others may read them, relate to them, and find comfort in them; in this, I see nothing wrong. I find "Moving for the Sake of Motion" to be the best display of Spencer grieving over his own faults, and I find something to relate in it myself. Closer "To Whom It May Concern" wraps the lyrical themes of the album up perfectly, leaving a message of hope to the reader, showing this is no suicidal, depressive showcase.

I do not believe this to be a must-have for any metal fan whatsoever. Actually, unless you have any interest in hardcore or metalcore music already, I would advise you to stay away from this. The metal elements here will not hold your attention long enough for you to value what good this album has to offer. With a far more matured taste in music, I no longer appreciate it as I once did either; yet, even so, I find plenty of moments here can still beckon a positive reaction.

An Excellent Album - 91%

Erdrickgr, January 16th, 2008

In the year and a half since I first reviewed this album, my perception of this album has slightly changed (for the better), Underoath have released another CD, and I noticed a few mistakes in my review. So, with that said, I think it's time for an updated review of this album.

At one point on this album, the vocalist yells: "You want me to disappear? Well so do I!" ('There Could Be Nothing After This'). I'm sure many metalheads hope that this does indeed happen. As for me, the last thing I want is for Underoath to disappear, because over the course of the last three records, they've gotten progressively better with each effort, culminating with this record, their best since their debut in my opinion.

I have done two negative reviews of Underoath material: I gave 'Underoath: 777' (DVD) a rating of 35, and 'The Changing of Times' (CD) a rating of 20. Suffice to say, I wouldn't hesitate to slam this band if I thought their material sucked. But that's not the case with this CD, which actually has some very good music on it. And I don't know if it qualifies as metal according to the Metal-Archives criteria, but this album is a bit heavier than the previous two efforts as well.

I only have one minor issue with this album: the vocals. They aren't terrible, they're just... almost everywhere, and sometimes quite lackluster. Especially frustrating is Underoath's knack for covering up their half-way interesting guitar work with vocals (e.g. 'Everyone Looks So Good From Here'). This is not to say that they have a ton of cool riffs like a thrash record might, but only that some riffs are better than others, and that the riffs that skew towards the good side often seem to be the ones playing servant to the vocals.

The screaming, and especially the clean singing, on this album are hit and miss, with songs like 'To Whom It May Concern' being absolutely fantastic and very memorable, while songs like 'You're Ever So Inviting' are definitely lackluster. Overall the vocals don't really detract from the songs, but on the other hand there are only a few times when they help a song soar. This band does much better when using a darker, more atmospheric tone, though they don't often delve into those realms.

When the vocals do rest for a moment, this album is much better than previous ones at distinguishing between guitars, bass, drums, etc. This time around we don't have a big glob of sound. The riffs are on the simplistic side, but they are also improved here, and create a decent soundscape throughout the album. The guitarists are not overly technical, fast, or even heavy for that matter, but they do the job somehow in creating aggressive music when needed, and also slower, more atmospheric stuff when needed. A lot of people probably think that these guys can't play their instruments, but I think it's just a case of them having an unconventional style. Certainly Underoath aren't doing the more conventional style of riffing that they were doing on their first two releases.

The bass plays a more prominent role on this album, which is certainly a positive. Having said that, the bass still "sits at the back of the bus," so to speak. It works out well, though, as someone has to be towards the back, to help create a thick, three-dimensional sound. On drums, Gillespie seems to not be the most technically advanced drummer, but he plays well with and to the music, and it seems to me that he busts out some interesting stuff every once in a while.

Everything sounds good on this album as far as song lengths go, with nothing sounding rushed, or on the other hand drawn out. Nothing seems forced, but everything is in it's place. It is true that many of the songs sound the same at first. I think that this is one of those albums that takes a dozen or more spins to really get into. There are significant differences between songs, but because of the pervasiveness of the vocals on the heavier material, those differences get blurred at first.

Some variety is added in the middle in the form of two contrasting songs back to back. The first song, Salmarnir, is an excellent, slow, atmospheric song, in which a man is speaking in Russian. The second song, Returning Empty Handed, while not being ultra-heavy, is still the heaviest song on the album. These two songs define the line, as it were, and from that point on, the flow of the album is improved and the material is better.

The lyrics on this record are about becoming more than you are, daily struggles, and about facing life and it's problems. I think the lyrics are actually pretty good, and have kept a small part of the catchiness exhibited on the previous album, 'They're Only Chasing Safety'. Underoath don't beat you over the head with Christianity, with the only possible exception being the inclusion of Ps. 50 (spoken in Russian). But then, how many people listening to this record actually understand Russian? In my opinion, anyone who finds the lyrics on this album preachy are definitely engaging in eisegesis.

The booklet that came with the CD is a bit of an enigma to me. It is 30 pages long, yet has only 7 pages being used for lyrics and such. The rest of the pages are for pictures and artwork. The problem is, it's all very dark. And I don't mean that the imagery is dark, but I mean that the book is literally dark, and it's hard to see the pics and art work. It was definitely done on purpose, though I'm still not sure what the meaning of it all is.

In the end, I'd say that there is a lot of decent music here. This band started out their career pretty well, then hit a rut in the middle, but they came back with this very good record (though in a totally different genre than the early Underoath albums). I found nothing terrible on this album, much that is above-average, and even some great moments here and there. Of particular note are 'Salmarnir,' 'To Whom It May Concern,' and the magnificent song 'Casting Such a Thin Shadow'.

I cant believe I bought this... - 2%

impendingdoom93, January 2nd, 2008

This is absolute garbage. Completely and absolutely. Anyone who likes this crap most likely also likes Fallout boy.

Every second of this album screams scene at me, from Chamberlain's emocore vocals, to the boring, repetitive guitars, and the blastless drums. Truthfully, I'm not even going to listen for a bass part, because it annoys me to much to pick through all these obnoxious songs.

Generic and emo infested are some good describing words of this album, with it appealing to the losers who listen to pop-punk and all other mainstream music. Wait...this IS mainstream music. The kind that 14 year old girls listen to, especially if their friends do! Trend trend trend.

It starts off bad, with arguably the most annoying guitar chords I've ever heard. Play that 8 times, switch down a fret, then watch the fans scream and marvel at the amazing guitar playing. Give me a break. After that repeats a few times, then comes the emo screeches. Incessantly wailing, then going into the...wait for it...SINGING! Yes, if Chamberlains vocals weren't enough to raise the mainstream factor, them add Gillespies and Chamberlains wails to the mix.
Now multiply that by 10, with the exception of an absolutely retarded nonsense track in the middle, and you have Underoath's "Define the Great Line"

There is no musical talent in this album.
Give an Orangutan a guitar and some sticks and you'll get better results than this.

Why do you need am infinite amount of monkeys to produce Shakespeare's "Hamlet" when you can use 6 and get Underoath?

Well they tried a little harder... - 5%

TheBlackPlague, August 14th, 2007

After the emo crap-fest that was "They're Only Chasing Safety", Underoath promised that their next album would be heavier, more aggressive and "disappoint 12-year-old girls". Now we've all heard the promise of being heavier and more aggressive as nearly every metal, metalcore, and hard rock band says this every time an album is released, but that last promise was interesting. So did they deliver on that and give up what made the last album so obnoxious?

Hardly. It's true that this album is less poppy than the predecessor and that Spencer does some almost-good growls, but every new sound on this album sounds completely insincere. From more breakdowns to Southern tinges and grindcore clashes, this album screams "trend". And the sad thing is that outside these thrilling new elements, everything else is the same.

The guitarists still do nothing of interest and are content to double each other the whole time, the listener has to strain incredibly hard to hear the bass, the drums stick to standard tempos and style, and the keyboards appear rather sparsely and still don't add much. It's kind of a shame that the instrument that used to be a big part of the band's sound is now reduced to a few tinkerings here and there. And while the emo vocals appear somewhat less frequently and the "harsh" vocals are more abrasive and sometimes decent, they're still very annoying. The songcraft hasn't improved much either and is sometimes less structured and coherent (thanks to the more "hardcore" elements) than the last album was.

Nothing exciting for metal fans at all, but the scene kids eat it up like discount pizza. It might disappoint 12-year-old girls, but not 14-year-old girls. Underoath continues their trend-hop and one can only wonder with horror where it might end up.

To Whom it May Consern - 70%

666head, July 23rd, 2007

I was really surprised that Underoath was accepted. The first time I found out about this band, a cousin recommended it to me. I went over to his place, listened to a couple of tracks, and I thought it was an OK band. As far as metalcore goes, there are better album’s out there, but if you’re curious about the band, this won’t be a bad place to start.

The album starts out with the energetic track “In Regards to Myself”. Its also the most energetic track of the entire album. After the second track “A Moment Suspended in Time” the album goes into this weird calmness. Many of the tracks here are slow, and are the kind that are supposed to make you think, however, they will make you dream instead, since these are boring as hell. These calmer tracks stop, if only briefly, by the speedier track “Returning Empty Handed” and it goes into more slow songs, but these are at least competent.

Lyrically, the album is preachy, but not obnoxious, unless you just can’t stand Christianity, in which case, you’ll just be punishing yourself. Some of the lyrics may make you wonder whether these guys were hired by the pope himself or do it because it part of their belief system.

Overall, the many of the songs lack the drive that others have, many songs feel really inspired, but many feel like fillers that were made because of the label’s pressure. Its really sad to see another uninspired metalcore/emo act, its really depressive, and it seems that many bands have been appearing since My Chemical Romance hit the mainstream. There are way better metalcore acts out there, but even so, this album is enjoyable after a couple of listens. If Underoath didn’t convince you with their earlier albums, then don’t bother buying this, but if you like Underoath, then you’ll definitely enjoy this album. Lovers will find plenty to love, and haters will find plenty to hate, and for those in the middle, there are a couple of enjoyable songs.