Christianity and brutality have never quite melded the way this sextet from Tampa, Florida has demonstrated over the past ten years. Blurring the lines between art and chaos, music and dissonance, and elevated spirituality and earthly frustration, each song Underoath has recorded is like a raging, insistent battle between good and evil. Aaron Gillespie's honest vocals seem eternally pitted against Spencer Chamberlain's explosive growls in an epic struggle for dominance, like two sides of the same coin tumbling down a bottomless well.
Underoath's latest offering plays deeper into that same dynamic, building up something beautiful and destroying it in a whirlwind of crunching guitars and wailing vocals. Fans of the band might remember Define the Great Line's (2006) face-melting intro, "In Regards to Myself" -- that is, until they pop this baby in and let "Breathing in a New Mentality" spin. The urgency of the record doesn't push its own limits as it drifts purposefully from song to song, drilling the band's staple catchy melodies into your head and leaving a hole in the back of your skull so the music can come and go as it pleases.
Although I'm a firm subscriber to the notion that production can be a record's biggest downfall, the quality difference between DTGL and LITSOS is most tangible in the drums, facilitating a self-sustaining product that feeds on a dominant beat, with layered guitars and the usual vocal meandering. Another production upgrade is apparent in Gillespie's vocals; nearly flawless, the recording captures the emotion and power that stands independent of Chamberlain's screams, while simultaneously working with them to present the contrast that solidfies Underoath as a unique ship in a sea of metalcore bouys.
Clearly, this is not a detour from previous records, but the evolution that Underoath fans could have only been dreaming about waiting for the album to drop.
"Oh, God! It's racing through my veins / I'm afraid there must be some kind of mistake."
- Underoath, "Breathing in a New Mentality"