From the outset of the Christian metal group Underoath's latest album Lost in the Sound of Separation, it is easy to see that this is not the same band that brought They're Only Chasing Safety to the world in 2004.
Since then, life under a constant spotlight, as well as highly publicized personal problems within the band has led its members to delve introspectively and come up with two of the most uncompromising albums of their long career: first Define the Great Line and now Lost in the Sound of Separation.
Whereas Define the Great Line was a bit more experimental, Lost in the Sound of Separation comes at the audience much more straightforwardly. Defining their metal-core sound with vocals of Spencer Chamberlain, they have come back to their roots in a raw and powerful way.
The boys of Underoath combine a ferocious and almost punk sensibility into the opening track "Breathing in a New Mentality." Its driving rhythm and slashing guitars set the standard for the record, which was slated to be "heavier and darker" than anything we have seen from the Florida sextet in the past.
Breakdown-heavy tracks like "We Are the Involuntary," "Coming Down is Calming Down" and "The End is Near" magnify the intensity of the record and amplify the lyrical cries of Chamberlain, asking desperately for salvation.
Midway through the second song of the album, listeners get a change of pace as the soaring vocals of drummer and singer Aaron Gillespie take over. Fans of Chamberlin's more melodic sound should have nothing to fear though - Lost in the Sound of Separation does not abandon that at all.
In fact, some of the tracks that stand out the most such as "A Fault Line A Fault of Mine" and "Desperate Times, Desperate Measures" have sing-along choruses exchanging Chamberlain's screaming with Gillespie's fine-tuned vocal abilities.
The main success of Lost in the Sound of Separation and a regular feature of Underoath releases, is that the group strings the entire album together; each song bleeding into the next, convincingly creating one track that is split into 11 different parts.
Even the final two songs of the album, which are completely dissimilar from the others in terms of style, blend well with the intricate instrumental work of Tim McTague (guitar), Grant Brandell (bass), James Smith (guitar), and Chris Dudley (keyboard and synthesizers).
Underoath has another successful album in Lost in the Sound of Separation that will only leave fans wanting more.