The March, for me, was an unparalleled step forward for Unearth. It was a band stepping out of their comfort zone to expand upon an already established sound and forge a new future for themselves. The breakdowns were incredible. The musicianship was stellar and the tones coming out of the band reminded me of Crowbar and some of the best sludge metal out there.
Made with Seemless/Kingdom of Sorrow drummer Derek Kerswill, it was a definite high point for the band. Kerswill and Unearth have since parted ways over the typical “creative differences” which leads one to wonder if he was pushing for The March and beyond rather than The Oncoming Storm part 2 for Darkness In The Light, Unearth’s 5th.
Recruiting Killswitch Engage drummer Justin Foley (Whose bandmate Adam D produced the record) for the studio and subsequent tour, Darkness In the Light is quite a step back for the Mass metallers. This isn’t to say that Darkness In the Light is a bad album, it just isn’t anything new for Unearth.
The breakdowns are still epic (“Last Wish”, “Eyes Of The Black”), the guitar work is still killer (“Shadows In The Light”, “The Fallen”), and the bass is still powerful enough to knock down walls (Opener “Watch It Burn”). In other words, it’s Unearth doing what Unearth do best.
There are some twinges of new school mixing with the old school here especially in “Equinox”, arguably the best track on Darkness…, with its’ piano intro that builds to a ferocious Trevor Phipps delivery and then just as quickly fades out with the same piano line and feedback. Then there’s guitarist Ken Susi delivering clean vox on three tracks (The first time he’s done so since The Oncoming Storm) to contrast Trevor Phipps’ bark which is definitely a highlight.
If you were a fan of III or The Oncoming Storm then Darkness In The Light is the Unearth album for you. For me, I’d like a little more in my metal.
Darkness In The Light hits stores July 5th.