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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.