Lost In The Sound Of Separation

Written by: PP on 05/10/2008 15:00:49

Two years ago, Underoath unleashed to the world what is today considered to be a masterpiece, a one-of-a-kind screamo recording that was far ahead of their genre counterparts. It was a complete reconstruction of their sound, a transformation from simplistic riffing into the progressive unknown, into realms few thought were possible for the genre. This left Underoath with a problem for their next release: how on earth were they going to top "Define The Great Line" when that would become topical? The answer, based on the sounds on "Lost In The Sound Of Separation" - a fitting title by the way - seems to be looser soundscapes, less production, and more focus on Spencer's incredible vocals.

And on a few tracks, the band indeed lives up to - perhaps even tops - "Define The Great Line". "The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed" sounds fucking massive, for instance. Spencer hasn't sounded this good ever before on an Underoath record, his screams devastate the listener, they penetrate every bone and cell of your body, shaking your very existence. Then Aaron Gillespie's soothing clean vocals arrive just at the right time with some of the most touching lyrics this band has written to date: "Everything everything is leaving me wondering... I hate that I'm questioning... everything, everything". Just wait 'til you hear this on record, cold chills await your back. Or take the abrasive "Desperate Times Desperate Measures" where the band returns to the angular riffs of "Define The Great Line", making the song stick out from the others on the record. Same applies for "Anyone Can Dig A Hole But It Takes A Real Man To Call It Home", though here the focus is on the experimentalist guitars and the incredible lyricism, or as Spencer puts it, "Oh how the plot THICKENS!!!".

All the good songs on the record have a few things in common: the sound is tight, there's focus on the guitars (either they are angular or experimentalist), and Spencer's lyrical universe is nothing short of brilliant. That leaves me wondering why on so many other songs, the band has adopted a polar opposite approach. For example, the album opener "Breathing In A New Mentality" has all too hollow production, leaving an impression that Spencer's just screaming for the sake of screaming. A song like "Emergency Broadcast :: The End Is Near" should've never made it on the record, the soundscape is far too big for Underoath. The vocals and backups echo around the soundscape meaninglessly, and the instrumentals are boringly doing the same thing. "We Are The Involuntary" makes the same mistake as the album opener in that it gives off an impression of a band just WRAAGHHGING for the sake of WRAAGHHGING - the song is not particularly interesting when the only noteworthy part about it is Gillespie's pounding drum work. In fact, on all the so-so tracks, it feels as if the rest of the band stopped contributing in order to leave more space for the phenomenal drumming... but you don't have a good song when you've only got the drums.

There are moments scattered around the entire record where it really feels like Underoath are lost in their own sound. These songs drag the album's grade down a few notches in my eyes, as I find myself skipping to the good parts all too regularly. That being said, the good parts are REALLY good, some of the best work Underoath has done to date. In the end, "Lost In The Sound Of Separation" is still a good album, but it just isn't another "Define The Great Line", even if it solidifies Underoath's position at the top of the food chain for post-hardcore and screamo.

Download: The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed
For the fans of: The Almost, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Blessthefall, The Bled
Listen: Myspace

Release date 02.09.2008
Tooth & Nail / Solid State Records

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