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Underoath - Define the Great Line (Cover Artwork)

Underoath

Underoath: Define the Great LineDefine the Great Line (2006)
Solid State Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Reviewing the new Underoath album here is like trying to offer delectable French cuisine to an overly patriotic American. Before the food even hits their mouth, the American will dismiss it for its native derivation, when in fact they may very well enjoy said food. Trying to convince the "punx" a Ch.
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Reviewing the new Underoath album here is like trying to offer delectable French cuisine to an overly patriotic American. Before the food even hits their mouth, the American will dismiss it for its native derivation, when in fact they may very well enjoy said food. Trying to convince the "punx" a Christian metalcore band whose last record sold several hundred thousand have put out a solid followup -- yeah, "futile" comes to mind.

Thing is, that's the case. Many have and will describe the Florida act's new, heavier direction as one that "returns [them] to their roots," those roots purportedly the band's dark metalcore of 2002's The Changing of Times and/or the death metal leanings of their first two releases, Act of Depression and Cries of the Past. Okay, so the band is heavier -- that's about the only relation to these mostly unassuming, overly preachy releases. The type of heaviness exhibited on Define the Great Line is more one that makes it an awful lot easier to place them in the same post-Botch territory already occupied by so many of their now closer peers (labelmates Norma Jean and the Chariot, as well as Fear Before the March of Flames and Scarlet come to mind).

Surprisingly though, Underoath is the most ambitious of the bunch.

They did the sing/scream formula well on 2004's They're Only Chasing Safety, at least in this reviewer's opinion. Sure, their melodies seemed awfully reminscent of Taking Back Sunday, but something about it transcended the band above that. And while Define can certainly seem similar to the abovementioned group of bands wearing their Botch influence so blatantly on their sleeves, it has enough of Underoath's own elements to make it a little more unique. The singing is more sporadic than on Safety, thus providing a nice dynamic as opposed to a chorus -- not a single track on Define seems like the obvious choice for "screamo-pop single no. 1." "You're Ever So Inviting" has a chorus ("we turn the pages left to right!") sung in a slightly unsettling, radio rock bellow, and thus it could probably succeed well on alternative radio if anything, but it's hardly a bad song.

That ambition leads to one sensible comparison in one song and one shocking comparison in another. Anyone who enjoyed Beloved's only full-length, 2003's Failure On, should like "Moving for the Sake of Motion" a lot -- it's probably Define's most paced, urgent offering, the verse riffs providing the anchor and the band employing the sing/scream juxto quite on point; the first single "Writing on the Walls" definitely hints at the defunct band's influence as well. Additionally, the band is apparently very capable of writing decent post-rock/metal in the vein of Pelican, as the first 3 minutes of "Casting Such a Thin Shadow" will attest to with its pounding riffs, slightly spacey settings and nice build throughout, climaxing in a slight variety of screamed/growled vocals finishing it off nicely.

Granted, Christianity should bother a self-professed agnostic an awful lot when said agnostic has watched with disgust the religious takeover of the nation in the last several years on those grounds, but in recent interviews the band has made clear their severance from the groups of Bible-thumping Christians spewing disgustingly prejudiced "God hates fags!" sloganeering and further acts of "living recommendation." The lyrical content of Define certainly doesn't seem to go back on that at all, as it does seem more the band sings about their faith in vague ways. There's mentions of The Big Guy, sure, but they seem random and compulsive, like the shouts of Sunday church-goers in any excited house of God in the South. One particular weird moment is "Salamarnir," a Bible passage as read in Russian by a friend of the band, but to say the band bashes the listener over the head with mentions of their faith on the album would be more than slightly wrong.

Define the Great Line has already sold an awful lot of copies from a band who is not only rather heavy in the context of mainstream music, but actually sounds sincere in what they're doing. And while I'm likely to never join the ranks of those living their lives every day for a certain martyr, I'm hardly going to mind when a few of them want to write solid and ambitious, Botch-influenced metalcore albums vaguely showcasing the faith involved in those lives.

STREAM
In Regards to Myself
You're Ever So Inviting
Writing on the Walls

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
dlangl4 (August 31, 2008)
TommyPickles (April 12, 2008)

If there is a God I am sure he wouldn't like your shitty fucking music.

krid1987 (July 20, 2007)

epic...a league of their own

mike_litt69 (March 17, 2007)

i can believe i used to like underoath. they suck. listen to the lawrence arms instead.

cadavermine (February 5, 2007)

Fuck...this band is shit.

crazytoledo (December 1, 2006)

Snooooooooooooooooozzzzzzzzeeeeeeeeeeee.

Apparently I don't have a thing for as much generic screamo/metalcore as I used to, but besides some killer production, the music is boring, the songs are dull, and the vocals are pointless.

And to everyone talking about how these guys went out and did what they wanted to and didn't make "TOCS Pt. II," go check out pre-They're Only Chasing Safety, because it'll sound awfully similar to this crap.

Anonymous (November 15, 2006)

Hey DoltForJohnny why dont u shove ur underoath up ur ass and get some NOFX. NOFX may have some dumb or sily lyrics but they still kick ass and have a strong political message. Underoath sounds like a guy that sucked in a helium balloon and some random screaming. Their lyrics suck, and they dont support gay marrige. Underoath sucks

Anonymous (November 15, 2006)

this is punknews.org not someshittyscreamoband.org. Underoath sucks

Satelliteyrs (October 2, 2006)

one of my fav cds

Snakes (August 18, 2006)

of course underoath dosn't support gay marriage, they're fucking christian!

Anonymous (August 4, 2006)

if it came out that underoath didnt't support gay marriage, it would just be because they don't support marraige in general.

ummmmm no thank you.

treos (July 29, 2006)

oh yeah nofx sucks

treos (July 29, 2006)

I liked this cd more th a the others. hardcore like whoa and thats what im about. I dont understand why everyone is freaking out because they dont believe in dinosaurs. im pretty indifferent to stuff like that. Whatever floats their boat i guess. Im just in it for the sound and in my opinion it had a good sound.

Anonymous (July 23, 2006)

"Uh, 'Salmarnir' is actually in Russian. But okay"

No actually thats Hebrew

Anonymous (July 23, 2006)

And God does not hate fags.

God love gays but hates the sin. I have a few gay friends and I am a christian.

dingy (July 23, 2006)

Don't read this review.

Here's a better review
http://decoymusic.com/index.php?content=reviews&reviewid= 13546&oldreview=0

And obviously all you people who say this album sucks haven't heard more than the single "Writing On The Wall"

Anonymous (July 23, 2006)

"Better than all Punk music this band right here. Take your fucking NOFX and get a brain."

Amen

Anonymous (July 6, 2006)

"hey "PINT" the crimson by atreyu is one of the most unoriginal albulms ever put out, the new rise against is nothing more than shitty punk, this albulm isn't screamo it's fuckin metalcore. get your genres' straight douche bag"

so it isnt shitty hardcore, its shitty metalcore. wow, what actually makes it sound even worse.

Anonymous (July 6, 2006)

Brilliant

Anonymous (July 6, 2006)

God gets half a star

Anonymous (July 5, 2006)

hey "PINT" the crimson by atreyu is one of the most unoriginal albulms ever put out, the new rise against is nothing more than shitty punk, this albulm isn't screamo it's fuckin metalcore. get your genres' straight douche bag

PINT (July 4, 2006)

You know, in my eyes there is good hardcore "scream-o" shit, and there is bad hardcore "scream-o" shit. this is bad hardcore "scream-o" shit. If you want good hardcore "scream-o" shit, you should listen to Crimson by Atreyu. Another good choice is the new Rise Against album. I know that's not really scream-o, but its still fucking awesome

Anonymous (July 3, 2006)

Great, great, great review. Granted I liked this album better the first 6 times I heard it, it's starting to seem a little old pretty quick. However, I respect the band a lot and do enjoy what they do.
- Brain Eater

DoItForJohnnyJay (July 3, 2006)

Better than all Punk music this band right here. Take your fucking NOFX and get a brain.

GreenVandal (July 3, 2006)

You and me have been agreeing an awful lot lately Mr. Will. Lets make a baby.

SlowStupidHungry (July 3, 2006)

The fact that this kind of music even exists proves how fucking hopeless humanity is.

Anonymous (July 3, 2006)

this sucks

GreenVandal (July 2, 2006)

I bet they make another before they evaporate. Just a hunch.

Anonymous (July 2, 2006)

i'll take that bet.

k-dubs (July 2, 2006)

honestly, who gives a fuck whether they are religious or not? they believe in what they believe in, alrighty, they dont preach, and thats that.

its an okay record, better than they're only chasing safety, but not amazing. money says itll be their last.

GreenVandal (July 2, 2006)

I want to write something really mean and scathing about this shit, but the band just kind of writes the jokes themselves. It's like shooting fish in a barrel at this point.

I can't wait til everyone who likes this hits middle age and starts listening to Yanni.

Anonymous (July 2, 2006)

this score is for their hair

Anonymous (July 1, 2006)

They don't believe in dinosaurs??? My "intolerance" is awaking.

Anonymous (July 1, 2006)

To the guy that has a problem with a band singing a song about being pro life....there is nothing intolerant about hosting a differing view about a controversial subject. Does it mean all pro-lifers are violent biggots? No most certainly not. You're going to have bad apples in every bunch but it does not mean that by nature someone who is pro life is a violent person. I am pro life and never in a million years would I think to harm another individual because of their beliefs. Would Christ approve of someone being violent? Nope.

Anonymous (July 1, 2006)

Being a Christian myself, I appreciate the open-mindedness of the agnostic reviewer when listening to this band. Very good review!

Bowen (July 1, 2006)

If anybody that likes this hasn't already heard Beloved's Failure On, they really should go back and give that record a try.

inagreendase (July 1, 2006)

Kingofsuck, please...the joke accounts are getting out of hand.

kevin__lyman (July 1, 2006)

One of the top albums of the year. Don't forget to catch them all summer long on the Warped Tour!

Anonymous (July 1, 2006)

"Good album, shitty band"
I am astonished by your irreputable logic.

GreenVandal (July 1, 2006)

Hahahahahahahaha

inagreendase (July 1, 2006)

"underblows"

Technically, if a band "underblows," wouldn't that mean they don't blow enough?

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

best albulm of the year thus far, yup! by the way i am pro-life
and i hate fagets! how's that for tolerance!


Way to be punk. I am shocked SHOCKED by your comment.

Mixhail (June 30, 2006)

This album is pretty damn awesome. It suprised me alot because i was only a slight fan of Underoath before listening to this new cd. Gone are the catchy choruses, and instead we are given sincere, well thought-out songs with fluid dynamics and a healthy dose of layering. The keyboardist actually stops doing random beeps and bops (a big gripe i had on the last album) and now actually contributes by throwing in some nice ambient drones in every now and then. Spencer and Aaron have now improved as vocalists, and i am a big fan of Spencer's expanded screaming range. I liken it to Tim from As I Lay Dying, but with out his stupid short burst screaming style. Spencer has now stopped sounding like the average whiny Screamo pussy and the fact that he has balls now, makes the music much more abrasive.

Granted, these new changes in the band make the album tough to digest. From what I've heard, most of the people who discredit the album think everything sounds the same and way to much like Norma Jean and Every Time I Die. I cant deny this... the first track sounds alot like the former and "Everyone Looks So Good from Here" sounds like the latter... but upon subsequent listens, you can hear the different layers incorporated in each song. For example, "Youre So Inviting" is average at first listen, but after hearing it more and more i found that the layering done over the dual screaming/singing parts is pretty great. My favorite song, "Casting such a Thin Shadow" builds on this layering concept and adds some Isis-like ambience and heavy buildup (it might be a bit too similar... the tuning sounds almost exactly like how Isis sounds on Panopticon) and the soaring guitar leading to the dual vocals is epic!

Some of you guys think that the band's attitude is a bit to Christian for you and that it turns you off. Well i dont see it in the lyrics, where the album has to do mostly with finding faith in yourself and defining what beliefs make you stronger as a person. The artwork plays along with this theme and i must say its some of the boldest and moving artwork since Converge's Jane Doe. Nothing here is preachy... the spiritual references are in fact vague and their discussion of faith can be subjective to anyone's beliefs.

I attribute Underoath's awesome evoltion on this album to their expanded taste in influential heavy music (Botch, Converge, Isis, Killswitch) and Adam D.'s perfect production job. I swear, every album this guy works (i cite Unearth, All That Remains and Killswitch here) with sounds a thousand times better than the band's previous album. Im glad Underoath chose to go in this new direction and it makes them stronger and actually respectable as artists.

This album is tough to digest, but some of the better albums lately (Thursday's "A City By The Light Divided" and Minus The Bear's "Menos El Oso" immediately come to mind) have been like this and it makes the listening experience all the more rich.

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

good album, shitty band.

fallingupwards84 (June 30, 2006)

"You're fucking kidding, right? I mean if you like this, fine, but best of the year?"

just curious - have you heard this album?
it really is incredible.. if you listen to it without any previous prejudices towards it

sickboi (June 30, 2006)

The only time "the door is shut" is when the priest is giving it to the alter boy via his poop shoot!

Hey-o!

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

"Score is for the review.... Some of You guys are incredibly close minded and intolerant, especially if you believe Christians dont have a right to speak their minds. Any punk band has open rights to preach their politics but when it comes to Christianity, the door is shut. I just dont get it"

no thats ok. i'm more or less agnostic and love mxpx. i just think christian hardcore is complete shit.

paul

givemeamuseumandillfillit (June 30, 2006)

I can't say i support their lyrical stance or anything, all i know is that there's some crazy shit on this one that i definently didn't expect.

skaboom (June 30, 2006)

"best albulm of the year thus far, yup! by the way i am pro-life
and i hate fagets! how's that for tolerance!"

Well, it's not very good for tolerance, but it is excellent flamebait, so kudos.

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

best albulm of the year thus far, yup! by the way i am pro-life
and i hate fagets! how's that for tolerance!

sickboi (June 30, 2006)

Well, call me crazy, but if my "band" was associated with a past of ignorant views, songs and statements and the majority of members associated with that period were gone, I'd probably do the logical thing and change the band name.

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

Score is for the review.... Some of You guys are incredibly close minded and intolerant, especially if you believe Christians dont have a right to speak their minds. Any punk band has open rights to preach their politics but when it comes to Christianity, the door is shut. I just dont get it.

Allular (June 30, 2006)

"i've heard good things about this, but i felt polarized by tihs band after seeing them live and getting a bit of jesus preaching."

Eh, there's not much, if any preaching on the record unless you know Russian. Just give it a shot.

Not necessarily speaking to you Colin, just saying in general, the way I look at bands who preach on stage about things I don't necessarily agree or disagree with, I always try to look how the band does it. I know many more bands who are so much more militant about their beliefs. I've always found Underoath, even way before I was a Christian to state their beliefs in a pretty fair, unoffending, way.

Allular (June 30, 2006)

"Ever since I read the lyrics to that pro-life song they did I've despised these fuckers.

What's next boys, some tunes bashing gay marriage?"

I think this is just a little too harsh, considering the dude who wrote the lyrics (probably Dallas) isn't even in the band anymore. Crap, only two people are left in the band from that era.

If you've paid attention to any interviews lately, you'd know that's the last thing they'd do.

sickboi (June 30, 2006)

Ever since I read the lyrics to that pro-life song they did I've despised these fuckers.

What's next boys, some tunes bashing gay marriage?

colin (June 30, 2006)

i've heard good things about this, but i felt polarized by tihs band after seeing them live and getting a bit of jesus preaching.

i know it's a bit hypocritical, what with punk being full of politics, but politics are generally something the entire world should be involved in together. religion i've always considered incredibly personal, and dislike it when people try to press theirs on me. it's not your faith i'm concerned with, its' mine, thank you very much.

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

isnt this hardcore christian stuff? This music is the worst man. fuck. i'd really almsot rather listen to limp bizkit than this.

paul

sickboi (June 30, 2006)

fallingupwards84-

You're fucking kidding, right? I mean if you like this, fine, but best of the year?

fallingupwards84 (June 30, 2006)

excellent review

this album is, in my opinion, the best album of 2006. hands down.
pleasant surprise, because i did not expect it at all.

jamespastepunk (June 30, 2006)

So, if you're not a fan of Underoath, is this worth listening to a song or two from?

skolarx (June 30, 2006)

dammit, you guys ruined the running joke of not posting this review. now what will those annoying kids complain about?

Jello-core (June 30, 2006)

Really well written review..too bad underoath, underblows.

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

Keep putting out those albums, metalcore bands. You're just driving your shitty little subgenre into the ground. Eventually kids will figure out how wack this shit is and either go back to emo or move on to actual metal or hardcore.

-Ken

kirbypuckett (June 30, 2006)

::yawn::

Next...

- Kirby

givemeamuseumandillfillit (June 30, 2006)

If 13 year old kids are listening to this and genuinely enjoying it, that's a step forward.

Sadly, i think most of them just does it because it's cool to do it, but there's some quality stuff on this one.

HeresLookinAtYou (June 30, 2006)

gotta agree with brian on this one.
defintly a solid album that sounds A LOT like Beloved.
chasing safety was good, this is better.

danperrone (June 30, 2006)

i really liked the last album, but this is just boring crap

sickboi (June 30, 2006)

These guys have nicer hair and tighter jeans then most of the girls I know....M-E-H

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

what the fuck is going on around here...2 for 2 on well-written, unbiased reviews. something in the water at the 'org this morning...
-TOBB

swingline (June 30, 2006)

they have nice album covers... that's about it.

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

Uh, 'Salmarnir' is actually in Russian. But okay.

Leatherface_45 (June 30, 2006)

My bad dude...didnt read your comment real good..didnt mean to stereotype you either...score is for all the illegal mexicans..adios amigo...

Allular (June 30, 2006)

"them girl jeans must be too tight on ya..no blood is goin to your head"

Hahahaha. Aiiiight. Because listening to Underoath means I wear girl pants? And all Mexicans living in the U.S. must be illegal, right?

Why do you think I said "AFTER this album"? I was just saying you have to hear it when I said that.

stricken (June 30, 2006)

definately their best release so far..

i was starting to get sick of them and TOCS but then i heard about how they'd turned down numerous major label offers to stay with T&N.. that there gave me waaaay more respect for them.

then they release this. a very good thing. completely turning their backs on TOCS and it's formula.

Scootz_McNasty (June 30, 2006)

a girl came into my work wearing and Underoath T-shirt. I said, "hey, you like underoath?" trying to start a conversation. She looked at me like I was crazy, talking about a band that didnt exist.

she was really hot though.

Leatherface_45 (June 30, 2006)

"Saying Spencer has a generic voice after hearing this album would make anyone sound retarded."...
If you would have read my other comments earlier it would have said I havent listened to this cd..so you sound retarded..them girl jeans must be too tight on ya..no blood is goin to your head..but anyways...I wont say Spencer sucks completely...they had some really good songs on their last cd..Aaron would just ruin em with his singin..not that it was bad..it just needed to be in smaller lengths of time...score is for Maylene and the Sons of Disaster..Dallas other band..

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

this is really terrible

brixtongunman (June 30, 2006)

everything i've heard off this album sounds like Norma Jean with less talent and terrible vocals.

Allular (June 30, 2006)

"I think its funny that the person below spelled the word poppiness with only one n. If it only had 1 "N", it would be pronounced "Pope-ee-ness", which I percieve to mean having Pope like qualities."

Ha! That's funny.

Allular (June 30, 2006)

"WTF....no Spencer's voice sounds too forced and generic"

You haven't seen Underoath live while they were doing Dallas' songs then. Spencer definitely gave those songs much needed variety. I used to HATE Underoath. I give Spencer credit for gettin' me into them. Saying Spencer has a generic voice after hearing this album would make anyone sound retarded.

Leatherface_45 (June 30, 2006)

...Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 30, 2006 at 1:49 AM (EDT)

What the hell? Anyways, Dallas was a shitty vocalist. That album had maybe a couple good songs....

WTF....no Spencer's voice sounds too forced and generic...Dallas would scream his heart out....the album had good songs like When the Sun Sleeps...Message For Adriene...Never Meant to Break Your Heart..and their best Alone in December..that cd had so much more passion and intensity..that the new underoath wish they could obtain...score is for Changing of Times...

TahoeJeff (June 30, 2006)

I think its funny that the person below spelled the word poppiness with only one n. If it only had 1 "N", it would be pronounced "Pope-ee-ness", which I percieve to mean having Pope like qualities.

Anonymous (June 30, 2006)

What the hell? Anyways, Dallas was a shitty vocalist. That album had maybe a couple good songs.

Leatherface_45 (June 30, 2006)

Oh yeah great review Brian...very well written about the christan and the french food..freakin genious..im glad toledo didnt get a hold of it though cuz then everybody would start saying some stupid shit...nothin personal toledo..just how i see things...

Leatherface_45 (June 30, 2006)

Havent got this one yet...but im hearin good things...Theyre Only Chasing Safety was ok...nothin compares it to their third and I think BEST cd The Changing of Times..it has Dallas Taylor on their for vocals...I posted a review...maybe they will post it soon..but neways..im out....

Allular (June 30, 2006)

"eh, i liked the popiness of there only chasing safety, im not gonna lie, but not enough to checkout this release."

Check it out anyway. There's some bitchin' parts. The odd time punk beat over the riff on the second to last song KILLS me.

sharksss (June 30, 2006)

eh, i liked the popiness of there only chasing safety, im not gonna lie, but not enough to checkout this release.

aubin (June 30, 2006)

Great review Brian; it's tough to do because there are so many preconcieved notions of this band.

Cheesetits (June 30, 2006)

You have to at least respect this band for not selling out and doing their thing, regardless of genre preference. I don't think this album is all that special, but it's a surprise, and not a bad one at that.

Allular (June 30, 2006)

I'm so glad there was a non-biased review on this. Definitely hit it dead straight on in the head.

The "turn the pages left to right!" doesn't sound so radio rock to me. It sounds like a HWM yell to me.

To me, this sounds like if Botch still had their riffs but decided to write SONGS, rather than riffs.

Awesome review.

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