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Songs like opener “Watch It Burn,” “Ruination of the Lost”
and “Arise the War Cry” all mine the sociol and political territory that
Unearth is known for. It’s all angst here, boys and girls, which is to be
expected; face-melting riffs and freight-train velocity don’t give way to
singing about makin’ love in da club. Unearth throw in some unexpected musical
twists on occasion here, incorporating stoner-sounding riffs in “Eyes of Black”
and a the Who/“Baba O’Riley”-esque keyboard intro to “Equinox.” Don’t worry,
though; Unearth haven’t grown shaggy beards and started acting like hippies,
nor have they become a New Wave band. Guitarists Buz McGrath and Ken Susi still
enjoy assaulting you with fiery fretboard acrobatics, and the odd sludgy riff
or brittle keyboard intro be damned—DARKNESS IN THE LIGHT is a full-on metal
album. It’s absolutely for fans of stuff like Machine Head, At the Gates, Arch
Enemy and the aforementioned Killswitch Engage.
Tight riffing, varying from technical pedal-style patterns
to twin-harmony Maiden/At the Gates worship, plus all the brutally chugging
breakdowns, will surely serve to inspire many a karate kick in the pits come
tour time. This is definitely music to move by, alternating rythmically from
chaotic mayhem to ground-shaking, gut-walking grooves. Vocaist Trevor Phipps
brings the pain and brutality with his banshee-like screams, and guitarist Ken
Susi balances things out with the occasional clean vocal. While it is an
obvious holdover from the metalcore thing, Susi is pretty good about not
overdoing it. It doesn’t come off as a cash-grab attempt at charting a pop
song, like so many other bands that employ the same technique and style.
Commercially, DARKNESS IN THE LIGHT could elevate Unearth to
the next level. Here’s hoping the boys have a face-smashing success on their
clench-fisted hands. You can catch Unearth in the Rockstar Mayhem Festival as
it burns a path of destruction across the U.S., starting July 9 in San
Bernardino. Check out the official site here. http://rockstarmayhemfest.com/
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