Unearth - III: In the Eyes of Fire (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


III: In the Eyes of Fire (2006)

Metal Blade

If you have ever been to an art gallery, you may have noticed a few things: the rooms are carefully climate controlled, the music is soft and unobtrusive, the lighting is not quite dark, but carefully tuned to provide patches of gentle lighting between paintings. The room is filled with very annoyed people in red jackets who spent eight years in college and delivered a one hundred-and-thirty page thesis in order to "shush" people if they ask what time it is. There is, despite appearances, a reason for all this. See, art is supposed to be appreciated in a particular context that allows you to grasp the full meaning of a particular work.

The reason I mention this is because Unearth's III: In the Eyes of Fire also has a specific context in which it can be fully appreciated, and that context is blasting out of a car stereo at 2 P.M. while driving in a way that inspires journalists to produce "interest" pieces with titles like Highway Homicide and Why Those Stupid Punk Kids Should Be Locked Up.

A natural progression from 2004's The Oncoming Storm, III is not so much a change in the band's sound, as an opportunity to further streamline their approach. In particular, we find guitarists Buz McGrath and Ken Susi embracing more thrash and European metal with full aplomb. There are breakdowns of course, but they aren't the kind of audience-manipulating "mosh" moments, so much as just well needed respites to keep you from cracking your neck. Like the band's previous full-length, there are plenty of nodded acknowledgements to classic metal and thrash and plenty of brutish melodies.

The album's first single "Giles" is the kind of shred-happy speed metal with melody that At the Gates would have recorded had they lasted another album. "March of the Mutes" and "So It Goes" open like classic Metallica moments, with guitars harmonizing before engaging the full band. And even though the band's performance is admirable, the real stars of this album are certainly Susi and McGrath, who deliver the kind of intertwined melodies and riffing that harken back to the best thrash metal acts.

Unearth has always been a band with one foot in hardcore and nine in metal, and III: In the Eyes of Fire is another strong album from one of the most consistent and talented acts in that hybrid genre. So grab a copy of III, steal your parent's car and scare some people.