The Oncoming Storm
~reviewed by Joel Steudler
The Oncoming Storm is a thundering discharge of electrified hyperspeed death-thrash. Unearth has let fly with a lightning blast of supercharged metal that mixes the best aspects of numerous metal sub-genres into a blistering assault. Hardcore vocal stylings, melodic lead breaks, and a ferocious rhythm battery characterize this excellent album.
Extreme metal can often become tedious in its unrelenting intensity. Unearth consistently avoids this trap. They seem to know just where to break down the wall of noise, and when to inject a soulful lead break to pull back the pace. Gripping riffs come flying out of nowhere, usually when they're least expected. Varying the tempo and tone of their attack is perhaps Unearth's greatest strength. Every song is fresh and exciting. The band adroitly shifts between cacohphonos guitar crunch into melodic eloquence and then back again from beauty into the beast.
Everyone in the band (aside from the typically superfluous bassist, whose absence in many metal bands would be nigh undetectable) gets a chance to shine. Vocalist Trevor Philips rages quite coherently, shouting out invective with a driving purpose. His hardcore styled rasp-shout occasionally gives way to a spoken word delivery, but is always filled with roiling emotion. The guitar players also get in their licks, quite literally, ceaselessly peppering engaging melodies all over the album. Even drummer Mike Justian makes his presence known, creatively banging out delicate rhythms that occasionally burst down wholly unexpected percussive avenues.
Unearth shares some similarities with other bands, as most acts do. They might be likened to a more melodic Meshuggah, or Soilwork's muscular little brother. A little Rage Against The Machine peeks through now and then, and one could even cite instances of some Sabbathy doom ala Corrosion of Conformity seeping into the sonic stew. Really, though, Unearth has a distinct enough sound that they produce with frightening precision. Their explosive energy, facility for avoiding static songs, and knack for great riffs makes The Oncoming Storm a furious tornado that you must chase down.
Unearth Official Website:
Metal Blade Records: