7 albums, 25 tracks
Metalcore Finds Its Stride Once Again In Unearth’s Brutal Extinction(S)
Okay, let’s level with one-another for a minute – If you clicked on this article, chances are you’re between the ages of 28 & 40, have a closet full of mostly black crew-necks or band-tees & think Beatdown Hardcore is aurally pleasing, not abrasive & demonic; As such, you likely have a firm understanding of when Metalcore hit its peak & likewise agree that the scene has been nothing but over-processed nonsense ever since 2012 when Bring Me The Horizon went mainstream & the genre lost its appeal altogether – After nearly 14 years passing since their best record The Oncoming Storm, Boston, Massachusetts natives Unearth have surprisingly come out of the woodworks to reverse this devolution, bringing the Metal scene the guttural screaming & overblown amps they’ve been craving for years & doing so with style.
Literally Raging Against The Machine
It’s been a long, long time since there’s been a pure Metalcore album that didn’t rely on digital glitch distortion, synth sequencers & borderline Rap lyricism to form the basis of its creation. Unearth banish the arpeggiators & obliterate the high-pitched singing voices in Extinction(S) for a no-holds-barred, balls-to-the-wall maelstrom of Metalcore excellence. “Hard Lined Downfall” hits hard from the get-go with disgusting detuned chords, ripcord chugging & a constant assault of percussion that borderline melts your face off, counterbalanced by songs like “The Hunt Begins” which takes a handful of sick rhythms & emotive guitar riffs & weaves them all into a delightfully intricate display of songwriting, trimming all of the unnecessary fat for nothing but purified rage in the best of ways.
Let’s Open This Pit Up
The next thing Unearth brings back on Extinction(S) is the melodic breakdown, chopping up their sonic assaults with short reprieves of all-out madness that make you want to throw hands in the pit, leaving the experience with battle-wounds to show off at school the next day – Whereas “Dust” spurs memories of classic Norma Jean, what with the constant tempo changes, dissonant chords & blood-curdling vocals, “Sidewinder” is of particular mention as it throws in an absolutely brutal breakdown at the end of the song just when you’re least expecting it; By placing it after nearly 3-minutes of Butt Rock-style riffs, they catch the uninitiated off-guard with a surprise pit set to an off-kilter rhythm, creating even more chaos as crowd-killers come out to play in the madness – It’s a small treat, but one that definitely pleases older listeners.
Perfecting Rather Than Evolving
Now, as fantastic as it may be to hear these classic song structures & iconic guitar tones once again in an era of increasingly emotional Metal-adjacent music, it’s hard to overlook the fact that Extinction(S) could just as easily have been released in 2007 as it does today – Unearth aren’t doing anything particularly novel on this record, refusing to adapt to the trends of the current Metalcore & Hardcore scenes, but that’s actually their strong suit; They’re perfecting a beloved style & preserving its best qualities – Just look at “Cultivation Of Infection” & you’ll find all your favourite song structures turned up to 11; You’ve got Tech Metal subdivisions to head-bang to, 6/4 time signature melodic choruses to break up the verse chugging & faux-Egyptian melodic minor scales for that eerie middle-eastern aesthetic, all recorded with stellar production values & absolute precision.
Setting The Bar For Upcoming Challengers
Much like the Hard Rock & Alternative Rock markets are starting to observe a renaissance of music, what with it being the ten-year anniversary of each of their respective band’s last relevant albums, the Metalcore scene is also experiencing a comeback, but other than the more Southern Metal Underøath, Unearth strangely appear to be the only ones making any waves as of late. With any luck, this record will help inspire coming generations to pick up the mantle & make the once-booming genre a thing again, but it could just as easily fade into nothingness again if the rest of the scene doesn’t jump on the chance to reignite things – Hell, Atreyu came back & their fanfare was much less than anticipated, so maybe those crowds really are dead?
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