Unearth – Watchers of Rule


Artist

Album

Watchers of Rule

Label

3Wise Records

Year

2014

Genre

For Fans Of

Trivium

Summary

Keeping the spirit of metalcore alive.

Rating

85 / 100

Keeping a band together for 15 years is hard enough; keeping it relevant is an even more arduous task. Unearth have managed to stand the test of time and it’s impossible to tell on their fifth full length ‘Watchers of Rule’ that they’ve been in the game for so long. Not because it lacks, but the sheer force that exudes from each and every track sounds as if it’s coming straight from an unusually talented newcomer to the genre.

Opening track ‘The Swarm’ pummels its way through the door after the relatively tame guitar solo of ‘Intro’. The newest member to the band, who joined in 2012, drummer Nick Pierce, solidifies his place as a dedicated musician to the cause that is Unearth. Replacing temporary percussionist Justin Foley (Killswitch Engage) with Pierce was a masterstroke; as he more than keeps up with the tempo set by lead guitarist Buz McGrath. On that note, McGrath’s solos are as enjoyable as ever; exploring the fretboard in almost every track on the album, it’s hard not to appreciate his obvious love for finding new ways to create riffs. Rather than sounding formulaic, Watchers of Rule manages to sound familiar in a new way. The crushing end of ‘Burial Lines’ is built for mosh pits; there are still China symbol laden breakdowns, but having varied guitar licks played over the top of them (notably in ‘Trail of Fire’) keeps the album fresh and interesting.

Fans of Trivium will certainly notice a similarity between Matt Heafy and Trevor Phipps’ vocal style; it’s always interesting to hear the inspiration behind another much beloved vocalist’s style, and Phipps more than holds his own throughout the record.  At 13 songs, it’s possible that the onslaught may become too much at times, and splitting the full-length into two separate listens may be the best way to experience Watchers of Rule. By the time the invigorating ‘Birth of Legion’ rolls around at the tail end, Unearth somehow manage to keep the listener’s energy up all the way to the end. In no small part is this due to the production, with each guitar note sounding crisp and every drum beat kicking each eardrum in with enough force to cause hearing loss.

Conclusion

Both fans and those who are curious to find a new band away from the generic will thoroughly enjoy Watchers of Rule. Even after all this time, it’s still clear that the legacy of Unearth continues to reign supreme in metalcore.

Tracklisting

1. Intro
2. The Swarm
3. Lifetime In Ruins
4. Guards Of Contagion
5. From The Tombs Of Five Below
6. Never Cease
7. Trail To Fire
8. To The Ground
9. Burial Lines
10. Birth Of A Legion
11. Watchers Of Rule
12. Throes of Remission
13. Spirit In Black

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