1980s power balladeer and one-time punk Belinda Carlisle said it best; heaven is a place …
Underoath aren’t messing around. Erase Me opens with an explosion, a headrush of abrasive guitar and a demon-possessed vocalist Spencer Chamberlain, igniting your ears for what’s to come. This ain’t your mama’s Underoath, no more. No siree.
If you’re still on board after It Has To Start Somewhere, Rapture will cleave the fanbase in two, for better or worse. Taking cues from Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins, anchored in harsh electronic beats and short-circuit synths, the mood turns ever southward under a riptide of Spencer’s snarl. By southward, I mean South of Heaven.
On My Teeth, Wake Me, Bloodlust are all rock ‘n’ roll tunes that just happen to love goths and leather. They all soar with sing-along choruses that won’t feel weird sung back to them. Sink With You seems to take chaotic inspiration from At The Drive-In, rhythms running faster than its legs can carry them. Spencer barks as if his mortal soul is tearing from his flesh, imploring “You can’t make it okay!” over and over. It’s an uncomfortable listen. That said, it’s a mandatory listen.
Spencer is right in saying this album is “pop in the same way Radiohead was pop,”—pop can be anything it likes, except boring. This is 100% not boring.
ihateit is their slower paced “ballad” of sorts, while Hold Your Breath is a technicolour grinder, a sort of bone thrown to the faithful (likewise In Motion.) The back half of the album takes odd prompts and runs rampant with them. No Frames referencing Deftones, I Give Up possibly a lost cut from an alternate dimensional Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. It’s a painted-black confessional baptised in electronic waters and crowded with aloof, standoffish guitars.
Spencer is right in saying this album is “pop in the same way Radiohead was pop,”—pop can be anything it likes, except boring. This is 100% not boring. It’s a headscratcher, in the same way a well crafted film doesn’t quite leave you once the credits roll. You’ll want to inhabit the cold, dark world of Underoath’s new digs, despite you knowing full well it’s a fiction. If only.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Rapture, Hold Your Breath, It Has To Start Somewhere
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Deftones, Sleepwave (duh), Architects