‘Damn Excuses’ is the heaviest thing Underoath have done since 2010’s exemplary yet underrated ‘Disambiguation’ LP. Though more than just being a heavy track, it’s a hyper-active and enthralling new work from the post-hardcore/metalcore lumanaries.
Back in 2018, when Underoath revealed ‘On My Teeth‘ as the first single from their comeback album, ‘Erase Me,’ I remember sitting at my computer, feeling so anxious to press play. This band means so much to me, and I remember then wondering how I’d feel about them amidst that reunion period if a new song (and a new album) ended up being shit. Since then, ‘On My Teeth‘ has become one of my most cherished tracks from that returning album; one of my favourite Underoath tracks full stop, in fact. Recently, I had that same feeling when ‘Damn Excuses‘ was released, that same sense of nervousness taking over as I was about to hit play. While this latest song hasn’t yet become a top-pick for me from the Floridian band – it’s still pretty fresh, after all – those nerves were immediately dashed after a single listen. This shit rips! Underoath rarely misses, and once again, they’re reinventing their entry into all of our lives with a truly fired-up and aggro sound.
Some people may make a big deal about frontman Spencer Chamberlain saying ‘fuck’ a few times in this new track, but that’s a lame hill to die on. For me, ‘Damn Excuses‘ most notably recaptures the band’s 2010 era heaviness, the kind that defined the sublime (but for some odd reason) underrated ‘Disambiguation‘ LP, i.e. the one record they did without drummer/singer Aaron Gillespie. This new single is so angry sounding in the vocals and its tone, heavier than anything they’ve done in the last ten years instrumentally and sonically, and is so chaotic and noisy with the guitar-work that it feels like coming home for fans of the band like me. More than that, it also mixes in where the band is at right now sonically in a post-‘Erase Me‘ world, with Spencer leading the vocal charge, with hints of Aaron’s voice, lending it an authentic best-of-both-worlds vibe of the new and old together. The result is this energetic, real iteration of Underoath in 2021, one that feels so current. One that feels so much like them.
Underoath’s latest was birthed out of the blues of lockdown isolation, but also of their successful Observatory album live streams from last year. Live streams that saw a group of passionate creatives who crave loud and physical live music interaction not being able to do just that for the longest time since their hiatus. So ‘Damn Excuses‘ is an explosion of emotion and frustration at the state of the live touring music industry right now, feeling like no one can hear you and that you’re drowning in the sorrow of not being able to do what you love. It’s also a Covid-19 era release that, thankfully, doesn’t enter into the confusingly vague lyrical realm surrounding music and Covid, like say Make Them Suffer’s sub-par ‘Contraband‘ single.
Hopefully one day, sooner rather than later, we Aussies can share a big old scream-along with these legends of the metalcore and post-hardcore scenes in an intimate, sweaty live setting. For a song like this would fucking go off live!