For Fans Of
In sporting circles you often hear the cliched and widespread phrases ‘premiership window’ and/or the similar ‘window of opportunity’ bandied around. Applying it to musical context we see that bands peak at certain times and have a period where they can assert themselves as the genre’s elite.
Massachusetts heavy-hitters Unearth have been there and done that. They have stayed at the top of the pecking order for longer than most. While metalcore’s selective ridicule is a constant today, so too is Unearth‘s track record for releasing consistent and solid albums. So, one could be forgiven for thinking it’s about time Unearth have a lapse and release a less than stellar album. After all, the competition seems fiercer and the ability to stay innovative even harder.
On first impressions this album does feel a little typical (in many ways sounding like a slightly altered version of previous full-lengths) but after a more considered listen, studio album number five offers a bit more than most. ‘Darkness in the Light‘ is essentially a composite of the ‘core’ elements of ‘The Oncoming Storm‘ mixed with the metal harmonies of ‘In the Eyes of Fire‘. And in that black and white sense it becomes a matter of whether you choose to take it or leave it.
The band retain their trademark traits, mixing a strong melodic acumen with breakdowns and pit-styled tempos. It’s a sound that feels just as comfortable in a live setting as it does on CD form.
Tracks such as ‘Arise the War Cry‘ highlight and equally demonstrate why Unearth still have an impressive musical arsenal. ‘Eyes of Black‘ is slightly boring but these moments are fleeting. ‘Watch it Burn‘ and ‘Ruination of the Lost‘ are signature openings, with fast passages transitioning into harmonising guitar work and subsequently crushing breakdowns. While, ‘Overcome‘ keeps the tail-end well-represented. Although, the clean vocals may polarise.
‘Darkness in the Light‘ probably opens itself up a tad more to indifferent critique but on face-value there is nothing glaringly wrong or rather anything overly concerning. You can continue to try and find fault but Unearth seem too stoic and seasoned to produce an underwhelming effort. Perhaps ‘Darkness in the Light‘ is not much of a progression but instead it is an album that stands well against its peers.
There’s two sides of the fence here. Both have merit but arguably the prevailing one sees ‘Darkness in the Light’ as well-rounded and calculated. It’s not 2011’s sought after masterpiece but its not a letdown either. It’s a reliable album, let’s just leave it at that.
1. Watch it Burn
2. Ruination of the Lost
3. Shadows in the Light
4. Eyes of Black
5. Last Wish
6. Arise the War Cry
8. Coming of the Dark
9. The Fallen