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Melodic Death Metal has never really held my attention or made the hairs on my neck tingle. Sure, At the Gates were phenomenal (at least for their time), purely because it was a breath of fresh air in a nearly-stagnating, halitosis-ridden, genre. I'm also one of the three people in the world that doesn't rate Carcass' 'Heartwork' too highly ('Necroticism...' is arguably a better record - you know it's true). Therefore, it is with some surprise and delight that I found myself rather enjoying this. I guess the reality is that Melodic Death Metal has evolved into Deathcore/Metalcore; a genre that I find rather redundant and uninspiring, whilst Unearth have stayed partially true to the genres origins. You can hear the Iron Maiden influence in the melodic leads (sometimes uncomfortably reminiscent of Welsh gobshites Funeral for a Friend), the thrashiness of 'Act III'-era Death Angel bubbles beneath the surface too. Vocalist Trevor Phipps is a tad monotone in his delivery but, you know what, I don't care, because it's such a powerful delivery. A little too much reliance is put on double-bass kicking, and the aforementioned guitar harmonies, but I can forgive that; it's what makes the genre what it is after all. Where it does fall down though is in the familiarity stakes. I'm not referring to the "been there, done that" nature of the music, but the lack of overall variety on offer. A few too many times I found myself losing concentration, with very few changes in pace or feel to bring me back. Even the breakdowns didn't really feel like they changed the flow of the song enough to warrant inclusion. And it's for this reason alone that the score isn't as high as it could have been. I feel Unearth have yet to hit their zenith, even on their fourth album, and with a little more personality they could elevate themselves to serious competition for the What-you-call-it-core throne. Killswitch Engage can sit tight for now, but this is a subtle warning shot.
Metal Blade Records
Review by Steve Cowan
13th Oct 2008
1) My Will Be Done
2) Hail The Shrine
3) Crow Killer
4) Grave of Opportunity
5) We are Not Anonymous
6) The March
7) Cutman
8) The Chosen
9) Letting Go
10) Truth or Consequence
"...Unearth have yet to hit their zenith...Killswitch Engage can sit tight for now, but this is a subtle warning shot."