Unearth – “Extinction(s)” (Century Media)
Pioneers of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal, two decades on and Unearth have sold over a half million albums around the globe, not to mention becoming festival names and touring veterans. Playing a crucial blend of metalcore, I’d definitely say that rather than its narrower confines, Unearth’s breadth of influences are far wider ranging from Pantera to Killswitch Engage to early In Flames, not forgetting a fair amount of djent. “Extinction(s)” is the band’s 7th release and make no mistake, it’s one heavy mutha, although equally there’s plenty of melodies especially from the glimmering twin guitars of Buz McGrath and Ken Susi throughout the well composed material. Leading from the front are the throat raw vocals of Trevor Phipps, backed by the hammering rhythm of bassist Chris O’Toole and the dexterous, pounding drum work of Nick Pierce that never let’s up across the 10 excellent tracks here, that also showcase plenty of tempo changes and intelligent arrangements. It all makes for a catchy and well balanced album, heavy with plenty of balls but equally, lots of hooks and heaps of memorable melodies. From the twisting djent riffs on ‘The Hunt Begins’ the speed begins as Phipps drawls about ‘..weeding out the weak…’ before descending into massive chundering heaviness laced with tantalising melodies before a short ambient break gives rise to a powering twin guitar melody taking us to the end – awesome. On ‘King Of The Arctic’ the heavy riffs build the brooding atmosphere unleashed by plenty of slick riff changes and classy melodies made all the more potent through the use of well thought out tempo changes that really play out the drama, once again topped off by Phipps’s aggro roars. Best track for me was ‘No Reprisal’ which was very In Flames sounding with its thick, guitar driven melodies contrasted by Pierce’s heavy drums, along with some hardcore shout outs as Phipps throat strained about ‘…turning the world to stone…’ – simply addictive! All in all an excellent release not only doing the genre proud but solidly reinforcing Unearth’s premiere.