Review The Artist (49)
Very rarely does a monumental record find itself matched with the promise of commercial success. But the strength, intensity and explosive lure of DEFINE THE GREAT LINE-UNDEROATH's follow up to its over 350,000 selling 2004 breakthrough They're Only Chasing Safety--is undeniable.
"We went into the studio wanting to make this record count," says guitarist TIM MCTAGUE. "We wanted to make it life-changing for the people who heard it. We knew it had the potential to do well, but we weren't basing our future on that. We feel we've written the best album that any of us will probably ever be a part of and above all else, we're super proud of it."
Crafted with the help of Atlanta-based producer/drummer Matt Goldman-who helped pour the rhythmic foundation-and Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz-who lent his experience to help capture the guitars and vocals and encouraged these Warped Tour veterans to use E-bows, reel bows and experiment with delays and effects pedals-the resulting DEFINE THE GREAT LINE is a mind-blowing song-cycle that resets the notion of what hardcore, screamo or whatever you want to call it, can be.
"We didn't want to take the normal approach, with just two guitar tracks, drum tracks, vocal tracks or whatever," MCTAGUE explains. "We really made an effort to expand in our minds about what UNDEROATH could do." To which founding kitman AARON GILLESPIE adds, "We couldn't be happier. When I look back on the time we spent on this album, I don't think we would have done anything different."
If "A Moment Suspended In Time" is the most direct, heartfelt musical assault since At The Drive-In's "One Armed Scissor"-replete with explosive drumming and the inexplicably delightful amalgam of mayhem and melody-the Florida-based sextet's depth and ability is no doubt bolstered by its higher calling.
"I feel like I want people to know we're a Christian band," vocalist SPENCER CHAMBERLAIN says of UNDEROATH's collective devotion. "But at the same time I don't like tacking God or the fact that we're Christian onto something to sell more records. I don't want just to be marketed as a Christian band because I think we go beyond that. Tags can be limiting." ]
"For us it's a fear of stereotype," GILLESPIE explains. "Like, 'You're Christian, so you can't be my friend.' I mean, Jesus was at lunch with whores and hookers! Still, our Christianity defines who we are."
And for UNDEROATH-which also counts keyboardist CHRIS DUDLEY, bassist GRANT BRANDELL and guitarist JAMES SMITH-there's a purpose in the music, be it the cathartic, introspective "You're Ever So Inviting" or the intoxicatingly forceful "In Regards To Myself." The latter opens the album with equal parts conviction and commotion, and boasts Spencer's bloodcurdling inquiry, "What are you so afraid of?" only to be countered by a stunning, turn-on-a-dime harmony.
"With this record I just wrote about myself and my life," CHAMBERLAIN says proudly. "On They're Only Chasing Safety, I wrote about scenarios because I had only recently joined the band and I was still adapting to the situation. This time there were no limitations and I'm writing about the stuff that I know and feel strongly about. And because I'm emotionally invested in it, I think it just feels right." A listen to the deeply personal, "There Could Be Nothing After This," an inventive, experimental blast of guitars and inner searching affirms this sentiment.
"Our last record was like, ten songs on a CD," TIM says. "And you could go and listen to each song individually to decide what you like or you don't. But this is the first time we composed an album. In the past it was just the ten or so songs we wrote in a garage and recorded and eventually some kids bought it. This time we knew we didn't want to regurgitate anything. It had to be cohesive."
If the stakes felt high after the group became Solid State's best selling band, the men of UNDEROATH kept their focus and avoided the stresses that have sabotaged so many follow up discs. "Pressure is only there if you buy into it," AARON says. "As long as we were going where we wanted to go and we were making it unique, that's all that mattered."
Or as TIM succinctly puts it, "We don't need to pump out ten singles for an album. We're not Fall Out Boy. Those bands are great for what they are but that's not what we're aspiring to be at all."
"We wanted to provoke a lot of thought lyrically and musically," MCTAGUE continues. "We didn't want it to be a record that you put in and you're instantly hooked because those records fall off. Catchy hooks seem cool for about a week, but then--when you're sick of it, you realize there is no substance. You can throw the record away. We'd rather be a band like Refused, At The Drive-In or Glassjaw, where you listen to it and you like it but you don't really get it immediately. But you keep listening to it and all the little pieces come into focus."
As for clarity regarding the disc's title, SPENCER says, "I liked how broad it is. DEFINE THE GREAT LINE can be interpreted so many different ways. When we all started in our various bands we were a bunch of 18-year-old kids. Over the last two years I've watched us grow into the kind of men we're going to be. To me it's the way I feel. It's the way God has called me to be. It's just an imaginary line that I try to balance myself on to be the best person I can be. I've made tons of mistakes and I'm just an idiot kid sometimes and it may take me my entire life to be the person that I aspire to be, but that's my goal: To be the best kind of dude I can be."
And if it's that spirit that sets UNDEROATH's fierce, foot-stomping metallic drive (see "Returning Empty Handed") apart from its peers, perhaps MCTAGUE puts it best when he talks about the real rewards of being in one of the biggest genre- defining bands today. "For me, the kids that we meet at shows who come up to us and tell us, 'I was going to kill myself and then I heard this song of yours that changed my life around spiritually.' Or even the one who said, 'I had no one to turn to when my parents divorced, but your record got me through it.' That's what it's all about for me. That's what makes us more than just some crappy rock band."
Message received. DEFINE THE GREAT LINE is indeed one of 2006's defining musical moments.
Thanks to brett weston for submitting the biography.
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Underoath | Reviewer: ThePhoenixDown | 6/18/12
To those saying Underoath never changes and are just screamo...have you been listening at all the past 5 years? They began a shift towards metal with Define the Great Line, continued to refine that sound with Lost in the Sound of Separation, and now have a totally different sound on Disambiguation. Listen to Changing of Times and Disamb back to back. They are like a new band now.
That said, Underoath is the ultimate pick-me-up when I'm feeling down. Their albums are so full of hope!
CONSEQUENCE | Reviewer: Ryan Ainsworth | 4/21/10
I agree, Underoath is a great band, I just wish they were a little more diverse. They didn't totally change or have an effect on my life, but I do listen to them on a daily basis. If I need someone to go to in "troubled" times I just go to GOD! It's the best thing that you can do.
UnderOATH | Reviewer: Alexandra | 3/5/10
Underoath, is one of the most amazing bands out there. Their lyrics are just so amazing, I can relate to them so much. They help me get through things, although the way some songs are with the whole god/lord thing is whatever. Even though, their songs are just all screamo, their instruments and lyrics are what makes it the best<3
guysss | Reviewer: Simon | 12/30/09
hey i get what ure all saying..underoath is absolutely amazing and helps getting thru many times...BUT let's not forget..GOD is the one we have to rely on..underoath just pushes us into His direction..they give us a small shock...the rest iis up to us to get deeper..soo keep this in mind :]
Thank you. | Reviewer: David | 7/28/09
I don't really know what to say, and I doubt anyone from Underoath will even read this, but Underoath is what keeps me going. I was introduced to them almost 2 years ago, and I still love almost every song of theirs to this day. No matter how many times I listen to a song, I still love it. I've gone through my parents near-divorce, moving away from my home, and nothing has been more helpful to me than Underoath.
So thank you. May God bless you guys. Keep doing what you're doing.
Underoath | Reviewer: Ian | 4/3/09
Underoath has exceptional talent, not just in studio, BUT LIVE! they sound amazing. You definantly grow to love their songs and appreciate the lyrics in the songs they truly have a great meaning to them. (I'm listening to them as i type this) :) with that said, i wish they would come back to Nashville. God Bless you guys.
underoath, the best band ever | Reviewer: raven | 3/17/09
though i dont belive in "God", i still feel the passion and heart in UO's songs, and even though i dont connect spiritually, they are still what keep me going in life. i have almost killed myself many times, but every time im mad or feeling suicidal, i just turn up my stereo and underoath will be blasting through my speakers. i feel that with underoath, i might start getting back into a religion eventually, because this band is my "salvation", if you will. i may not be very old and not experienced a lot of life, but i can truly say that ive had hardships and that underoath has alwasy been there to help me. i love them and wouldnt be here today without them
a true life changing experience. | Reviewer: Hayley | 2/17/09
there were many times where I had felt like no one and nothing was on my side. I had given up on God and there wasn't a point to anything really. I didn't believe that music could've changed around my whole insight and strengthen my demeanor. But Underøath is music where I can just look back at what I used to be and what I am now and thank them for everything. They inspire me and give me reason to get up in the morning. One of the most amazing bands by far. Original. Fascinating. Intense. Understanding. I can always put myself in every situation that they imply in their music. I like every single one of their songs. They mean something deeper than more than half the population. I love them, I love God and Christ, I love everyone with all my heart. Thank you Spencer, thank you Aaron, Tim, Grant, Chris, and James. You are all truely amazing.
My favourite band ever | Reviewer: No use for name.. | 6/11/08
Underoath's songs really have a deep meaning to their lyrics, and also their music absolutely keeps me full of energy even when I feel so down. Songs like Regards to myself, You're ever so inviting n Writing on the walls are the greatest songs of them in my opinion, So Define the great line is The best album since their first album. UNDEROATH rules me and the world!!
Greetings from Nebraska | Reviewer: Shelby | 4/3/08
Greetings from Nebraska. I really wish these things that i have listed would happen.
I wish i could meet u before i die.
I wish u would come 2 Nebraska and do a concert.
I love your voices...
Ur so interesting.
I love ur music ( i love ur song, Casting Such a Thin Line)
U should come to my school.
I wish i could sing on one of ur cds.
REMEMBER: UR STYLE ROCKS OUT WHO U R!!!
underooooatth | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/28/08
I think that Underoath is an awesome band. They have changed alot since their first album came out. Even though the albums sound different from each other, They are all really great =D
For the record, All you Emo people...
It's great that you've turned around your life and whatnot, but you don't need to post your whole life story on here.
Underoath. | Reviewer: Eric | 12/16/07
I miss the old Underoath albums, like Act of Depression or Cries of the Past, these were Underoath's truly amazing albums. I'm not say Define the Great Line is bad, but the lyrical genius and instrumentals in AoD and CoP are truly amazing.
Underoath. | Reviewer: eric. | 12/16/07
I miss the old Underoath albums, like Act of Depression or Cries of the Past, these were Underoath's truly amazing albums. I'm not say Define the Great Line is bad, but the lyrics and guitar in AoD and CoP are amazing.
my favorite band | Reviewer: delilah | 11/12/07
underoath is my favorite band...their music and their lyrics can talk sincerely to my heart, and i can't think my life without them...spencer is my favorite singer by far, and i love him...my favorite songs are angel below, some will seek forgiveness, down set go, casting such a thin shadow...
:) | Reviewer: alex | 11/8/07
Underoath rocks, I actually did used to cut and tried to commit suicide but they helped me through alot and made me realise God does things for good reasons even if we dont understand.
God bless and keep rockin!!! :)
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