Underoath – Ø (Disambiguation)

By paul

I have such incredible respect for Underoath. They’re a band that’s overcome personal issues and tragedies and seemingly written albums consistently better than their last. It’s incredible to think that since Aaron quit the band there’s not a single original member of the band left, yet this album is quite possibly the most ‘complete’ record the band have ever done.

‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ is one of my guilty pleasures. It’s essentially the sound and genre of music that I’ve grown to despise; a type of music that’s so overly saturated and spawned about eighth or ninth generations of soundalikes that have diluted the passion and energy into a type of music that has literally sucked the life out of my belief in discovering new bands and listening to music. I listen to some of the new young bucks who grew up on ‘Chasing Safety’ and it’s blindingly obvious why Underoath have moved away from the sound that broke them into the Championship of bands in the ‘scene’. ‘Lost In The Sound…’ moved them away from the melodic, poppier side and introduced instrumental aspects and electronica that edged them towards Thrice and Deftones. ‘Ø (Disambiguation)’ goes even further, taking away most of the melodies and instead replacing them with atmospherics and interesting riffs that reference the likes of Radiohead (‘Driftwood’) than the millions of soundalikes they’ve inadvertently influenced.

And it’s Underoath‘s ability to push the envelope and move the boundaries of what everyone else in that type of music does that makes them shine like a lighthouse. Spencer’s vocals are as aggressive and brutal as ever in places, but it’s the band’s willingness to mix things up – ‘Driftwood’ into ‘A Divine Edradication’ is about as big a juxtaposition as you’ll find on any album this year – that makes them bloody essential. You can look at every single song and strip out lyrics or guitar riffs or drum beats that just makes this record stand out from almost everything else released this year. From the Thrice-esque ‘Paper Lung’ and the vocal delivery which has a little Chino Moreno about it, to the bone-crushingly awesome ‘Illuminator’, this record is special in so many different ways.

Underoath have moved out of the ‘guilty pleasure’ bracket and into the ‘bloody essential’ one. ‘Ø (Disambiguation)’ is arguably their finest, most consistent work yet.

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