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Underoath The Changing Of Times

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Underoath - The Changing Of Times
01. Letting Go Of Tonight
02. A Message For Adrienne
03. Never Meant To Break
04. The Changing Times
05. Angel Below
06. The Part Of Me
07. Short Of Daybreak
08. Alone In December
Reviewed by: Alex   //   Published: 2/26/2002

This is Underoath's debut for Solid State Records, and their third effort overall. There is less black metal and atmospheric content on this record, and most noticeably, the songs are much shorter. In the past, tracks in excess of six or seven minutes were commonplace. On "The Changing Of Times," there is actually only one track that tops five minutes. And in fact, the opening track ("Letting Go Of Tonight"), an almost perfect blend of aggression and melody by the way, is less than two minutes long. This is unchartered territory for Underoath! Perhaps this brevity enhances the aforementioned "focus" of this record, or perhaps it's the music, or most likely, a combination of both. I don't dislike Underoath's previous material, but something about this one really connected with me, musically speaking. As I possess only a promo copy, I'm ill-prepared to expound upon the overall lyrical thrust of this record, though most of you are probably aware that Underoath is a "spiritual" outfit.

In the place of death/black metal now exists more emotional hardcore, and even a few rock-styled segments. The vocals are still of a harsh nature, throaty agonizing styled screaming, to be more precise. However, there are some other vocal methods employed effectively, such as soft spoken lyrics, and occasional singing.

Underoath continues to use keyboards and sound effects. The use of sound effects is judicious (listen to "A Message To Adrienne"), and it definitely adds flavor to some of the tracks. Meanwhile, after listening to this record for a few weeks, I can't imagine some these songs without keyboards. I'm not normally a big fan of them on hardcore records, but when they're done right, they can provide a major enhancement. The only song I think that could use a little less of the keyboards is "Angel Below," but they fade out a little over a minute into the track, so there's little harm done. On the other hand, the effects used towards the end of the track are perfectly placed however.

Quite frankly, there isn't a weak song on here. Underoath obviously spent some quality time crafting these tunes. There's real sincerity to their sometimes fiery, sometimes spacious, and sometimes heartfelt arrangements. On the fourth track, "The Changing Times," Underoath really astounded me. There are very few bands capable of producing something like this. There are so many elements to this track; singing, screaming, melodic guitar leads, a hardcore breakdown. Yet somehow, it all fits together perfectly without seeming forced or contrived. Very impressive.

Equally amazing is the record's final song, "Alone In December." Once again, the band is able to construct a mind-blowing song. There's a real interesting dynamic at play here, with the track almost "breathing," figuratively speaking of course, as the music ebbs and flows impressively before culminating in a very powerful ending.

The production is quite good. All of the instruments are represented nicely. The performances are quite competent as well, particularly the drum-work, which anchors the entire effort masterfully. As seems to be the case too often lately, I was disappointed with the record's length though. The entire record clocks in at just under 30 minutes. Perhaps Underoath was trying to make amends for their once lengthy arrangements

Bottom Line: Perhaps some of Underoath's diehard fans will be less than enamored with the band's "new" sound. But I can't imagine anyone who takes the time to digest this record would walk away disliking it. It's just too good. I know it's only February, but I suspect this album will be in my Top 10 list for 2002.

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Ben_   posted 6/13/2006 11:52:21 AM
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