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UNEARTH Extinction(s)

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Monday, November 26, 2018 @ 6:27 AM

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Century Media

Review By Francisco Zamudio

Depends on who you ask, but there’s no shortage of djenty bands with their feet cemented in the breakdown chugging rhythms abbreviated as “CORE”. As different as those 2 genres can be, they can be equally the same. And anytime you’re meshing different styles, which is commonplace these days, many fall by the wayside, unless you turn it up a notch and make it your own recognizable sound.

Therein, going on nearly a 3 decade lifespan as a band since their days of releasing Splits and EPs, headed by the original trio of Trevor Phipps, Buz McGrath and Ken Susi, comes Boston’s own UNEARTH with their seventh release to date, Extinctions(S) through CENTURY MEDIA. Debuting on record is Bassist Chris O’Toole, while this presents the sophomore release with the band for Nick Pierce on Drums. For Team UNEARTH, whether touring or in studio, working with such talents like Mike Devies (FEAR FACTORY, CHIMAIRA), Justin Foley and Adam Dutkiewicz (both of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE), Doc Coyle (GOD FORBID, BAD WOLVES) and even the Atomic Clock, Gene Hoglan (let’s face it, this amazing man has done it all!) - No doubt the line-up changes over the years had a strong influence in the development of UNEARTH’s style.

While they left out a lot of the softer melody and clean singing from the Darkness In The Light (2011) days, they kept some of the heavier vibe leftover from Watchers of Rule (2014). Certainly uniform in the genre and for UNEARTH are the “breakdowns” which are more rounded and very well written. They aren’t the most basic “chug-chugga-chugga” muffled power-chords. Good musicianship here gives them a lot more life. And these days it’s certainly embraced, as complexity and technicality is licking the ear of modern listeners. A majority I’d say who are musicians themselves and are always looking to dissect music. But UNEARTH doesn’t hinder themselves to simply make music “for musicians”. Their vibe has always been for the engagement of the crowd. And hardcore shows are certainly that, a lot of an interaction and activity. If you’ve been to any hardcore show, you’d know what I mean. Minus the choreographed karate chopping I could do without, it’s a hell of a good time!

Here on Extinctions(s), fans of crossover bands will appreciate UNEARTH building bridges between the various “CORE” styles. The obvious hints of melody are still there, counterpunched with tones just short of full-on Extreme Death Metal and Thrash. Their sound in a lot of ways has the constant and unrelenting feel that a lot of (Early) DECAPITATED had. But they’re no Death Metal band, no. And as rabid as the Death Metal fanbase is, especially towards Metalcore, you’ll get a lot of “crossover” love from those who enjoy the complexity and heaviness, if not at least the blast-beats in UNEARTH’s current release. Extinctions(s) certainly has a lot of that NU-Metal feel as well such as the likes of SLIPKNOT. That makes it more palatable in the eyes and ears of the mainstream Metal market/listener, much the way modern American Hardcore has become with the help of such people and bands like Jamie Jasta and HATEBREED, a band for which UNEARTH can easily identify with. And it’s always good thing to see heavier music gain a wide(r) audience.

A wide generalization for Modern Genres (in the western world) is the label “The New Age of American Heavy Metal”. And as we all know, many Metalheads claim to hate the word “label”. To breakdown (pun intended) that term, Extinction(s) is a level-up blend of Modern styles; NU-Metal, Hardcore, Melodic Metal into 1 solid album demonstrating the style UNEARTH has evolved into. A Heavier Machine still embracing its Hardcore and Melodic roots with added complexity and aggression.

Even for this Metal fan who doesn’t normally associate with Metalcore, I really appreciated the quality of the music I was hearing on the latest chapter in the UNEARTH story. Be sure to catch them on the road as they are currently touring the U.S., and will soon be invading Europe next year.

It’s funny yet appropriate that the first band and album I review for KNAC.COM is a band I saw open up for SLAYER in San Diego just over 10 years ago, in which I did an actual concert review for this same site. I am honored to be here again providing my insight on new Metal releases to come. Cheerz!

4.5 Out Of 5.0

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