Can it really be 20 years since these guys started to make a name for themselves by playing anywhere and everywhere, either at their own gigs or supporting others (I seem to recall one tour when one aim was to amend their name on the dressing room at every gig, ‘Bunearth” was quite popular). Although the rhythm section may have changed over the years, singer Trevor Phipps and guitarists Ken Susi and Buz McGrath are still flying the flag for over the top metalcore as they have through all the years. It is one of my least favourite metal genres, as many of the bands lumped in here seem to forget the metal bit and concentrate on producing something which seems way too commercial. No-one can ever accuse Unearth of that, as their music is always incredibly heavy and producer Will Putney (Thy Art Is Murder, Body Count, Every Time I Die, Suicide Silence) has created something which deserves to be permanently played at 11.
Fans of Lamb of God, Meshuggah, Whitechapel and even Trivium are going to get a great deal from this. They are turning it up, tuning it down, and refusing to conform to anyone’s idea of what should be coming from this genre as this is brutal, uncompromising metal. Sure, they take breathers here and there, but all this does is emphasise just how intense they are when it all comes back in. Chris O’Toole keeps the bottom end nailed, but a very special mention must be made of drummer Nick Pierce who not only hits the drums incredibly hard, but also uses more bass driven sounds than many drummers which keeps everything in the low register. There are many wannabe’s out there who wish they could be half as tight and as heavy as this, 20 years on and Unearth are still knocking it out of the park. This is a very special album indeed.