Unearth - _The March_
(Metal Blade Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (
Whatever else you may think about them, there is absolutely no faulting Unearth's work ethic. Having graduated from Boston's underground with their breakthrough effort _The Oncoming Storm_ in 2004, the band have kept up a workhorse pace that's included not only a regular slew of releases but a touring schedule that is nothing if not daunting. Listening to _The March_, it's obvious that time on the road has upped every band member's technical game, and if sweep picked melodies in particular are your thing, then Unearth's fourth full-length is going to send you to heavy metal nirvana.There's certainly plenty to like about songs like "Hail the Shrine" -- a titillatingly on-target number that combines the groove of past releases with waves of rolling thrash and a chorus that was born to bring the house down. Andy Sneap's work behind the mixing desk is equally impressive; layered, crisp guitar sounds and just enough pummel from Derek Kerswill's drumkit to impress without overpowering every other instrument. Yet in upping the melodies and reigning in the speed and aggression of particularly its predecessor, _The March_ is a strangely unrewarding listen. There's a lack of foreboding, danger and excitement here that _III: In the Eyes of Fire_ was absolutely seeped in. Thus while this record isn't a poor example of what the metalcore genre has to offer by any stretch of the imagination, for those seeking to put in their time in expectation of a challenging listen, the return on that investment is mostly short-lived.
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