Unearth - The Oncoming Storm (Cover Artwork)


The Oncoming Storm (2004)

Metal Blade

It probably would be easy to expect a bit of drop off for Unearth, one of the many fine Boston metal/hardcore bands. The band's 2001 full-length The Stings of Conscience was one of the better releases in the genre, well...ever. A stint on the Headbanger's Ball Tour and a new label (from Eulogy to Metal Blade) could signal some changes for the band. Maybe a little in this case, but with The Oncoming Storm, the band has somehow vaulted themselves to a higher level.

The album kicks off with "The Great Dividers," showing exactly what this band is about...fast, devistating guitar work and solid drumming with plenty of double kicks. The Stings of Conscience featured mostly Trevor Phipps' growling vocals with the occassional spoken interlude, but The Oncoming Storm gives guitarist Ken Susi an opportunity to provide some great singing vocals on "Endless" and "Lie to Purify." The addition of "Endless" was a great choice, as it was only available on a 2002 4-song EP, and is a stand-out track with one of the most blistering breakdowns in recent memory soon after Susi's singing. The band threw in a curveball with track 9, "Aries," which features some piano and is proof the band has a knack for not only writing kick-ass metal tunes, but a good ear for the dramatic.

The production is strong, as the band figured to not mess with a good thing, bringing Adam from Killswitch Engage to produce (he did so on Stings of Conscience). The lyrics are mostly political in nature, such as "Black Hearts Now Reign" where Phipps says "Take/Rob this world of resource/Burn the oil for fortune/stealing from our savior/In quest of power/Sealed, our fate is catastrophic."

With The Oncoming Storm, Unearth proves there is still plenty of life in a diluted genre, and proof that metal/hardcore can put out some well-written, musically strong and fucking kick-ass records.