'Erase Me' album review/ three stars rating
Underoath will release their new album, Erase Me, on Friday, April 6. It exhibits moments of adrenaline, spiritual searching, grief, doubts and aggression. Interestingly enough, Erase Me ends up being the softest record of the band’s discography – musically speaking – and it has significant use of synthesizers and electronic elements as well, without overdoing it. The record may take some getting used to for many listeners. The lyrics have a lot to do with bringing pent-up thoughts and emotions out into the open.
In true Underoath fashion, the band gives a ripping opener. “It Has To Start Somewhere” is one of the harder songs on Erase Me, and it has a lot of quality writing to unpack. Lyrically, the song seems like a sort of last call for God to show up. All the vocals on “It Has To Start Somewhere” are great, too. It features Aaron Gillespie singing in a lower register than he has on previous Underoath outings, which is neat to hear.
The first four songs on the album are back-to-back highlights. The second track, “Rapture,” has a cool groove during the verses, complemented by a catchy chorus. Its very unique style is something we haven’t heard from the band before – kind of a mellower metal, so to speak. “Rapture” also carries hints of their emo roots, which are definitely enjoyable. It’s followed by the high-energy “On My Teeth” that showcases infectious, rapid drum work and the eerie “Wake Me” that has a captivating use of melody in both instruments and vocals.
The rest of Erase Me doesn’t find its footing as successfully as the beginning tracks; it’s a little more hit-and-miss from here on out. Not any one song is an outright misstep, but some largely fail to bring new, engaging components to the table. Yet, other songs soon make up for it by finding a sweet spot again. The remaining strong sections on the album are “ihateit,” “No Frame” and “I Gave Up.” A head-turning part of Erase Me comes in the lyrics of “In Motion” when Spencer Chamberlain repeatedly screams, “There is no fix.” This could be a reference to the song “A Divine Eradication” on Underoath’s previous album, where Chamberlain screams “Where is my fix?” over and over.
Erase Me ultimately stacks up as a record to remember, but it doesn’t feel as memorable as some of Underoath’s earlier albums. It will probably be somewhat divisive among fans – for multiple reasons – but it can be a great experience for those who open their minds to it. On a sidenote, there’s some cussing on more than one song. While this isn’t an issue for some listeners, it may be for others. At the end of the day, Underoath has returned to sail our ear canals aboard new tunes found on Erase Me, and that’s something to celebrate.