REVIEW: UNEARTH – “Extinction(s)”
Considered pioneers from the metalcore genre, Unearth have been responsible for delivering some consistently good music for the past twenty years. With six full length studio releases this group is known for its energy, great riffs and tasty guitar work. The band continues to be driven by guitarists Buzz Mcgrath & Ken Susi, vocalist Trevor Phipps along with Nick Pierce on drums and Chris O’Toole on bass, 3 of whom are founding members. In a recent interview the band cited to bring the “raw aggression and heaviness of early material while showcasing elements of where they’ve gone as band since”. Four years post the well-received Watchers of Rule the group releases their seventh studio album – ‘Extinction(s)’
Unlike its predecessor, this album’s artwork follows are similar approach with a very straight forward burning and disintegrating world image it is working to portray. This does work in favour for the album when we take into consideration the bands interview on how we live in a world “being told not to like our neighbour because their views differ” which does eventually lead to a burning world in need for unity. The album has a lot of aggression and energy comprising of very riff heavy music and plenty of technical solo patterns. ‘Incinerate’ totally blows you away with how heavy the guitars are with added harmonics yet and ‘No Reprisal’ retains melodic elements of metalcore which result in some symphonic chorus’. The sound predominantly comprises what I like to call the first wave of metalcore, melodic chorus’, heavy verses, and insane breakdowns. Part of the reason why it sounds so good is because the songs are well balanced with metalcore elements and not loaded with just one.
Songs like ‘Survivalist’ and ‘Dust’ remind us how breakdowns can intensify a song, rather than having an entire song made of mere breakdowns. The album also has some layers to it and uses ominous clean passages nicely as heard in ‘Cult of Infection’ and plays around with some djent elements too. Not all is smooth sailing in the album though as there some tracks which are a hit-or-miss (miss in my opinion). ‘Sidewinder’ feels completely disconnected from the feel and flow of the record and feels like it was squeezed in, and ‘One with the Sun’ relies on atmospheric elements rather than intensity and aggression we started out with. Solos also dry up toward the second half of the album but are revisited in songs like ‘King of the Arctic’.
This record has its flaws, and loses steam towards the end, but it also has some mind-blowing songs which make an impact on you immediately and will get etched in your mind. Some of these tracks are already released on YouTube for you to hear for yourself and it is evident that the tracks have the goodness of the band’s musical essence. Enough to stay as favourites in your playlist. It also is an exhibition to a sound that defined the genre itself prior to its saturation, and it’s enough for me to consider buying it. But I am not sure if the album overall has enough to keep me coming back. I guess only time will tell.
‘Éxtinction(s)’ is another solid metalcore record from the band and possesses all the raw aggression and tasty guitar bits one would expect from the band and has some mind-blowing singles that will keep you coming back. But weather the album as a whole has enough juice to retain its audience is something only time will tell.