Unearth Consistently Slays with Watchers of Rule
Ten years ago, our bro-bros from some other mo-mos started a siqq website. Several seminal albums were released that same year, including Unearth’s breakdown-for-days metalcore triumph The Oncoming Storm. That album may very well be the greatest achievement from the band’s output to date, but suffice it to say Unearth has released three solid albums since then, and have another winning new record entitled Watchers of Rule coming out today (get it here).
As our esteemed predator-in-chief Vince Neilstein recently proclaimed, Unearth very well might be the Slayer of metalcore. The Massachusetts group has been churning out reliable, yet not predictable, music since its inception, and this new album is no exception in the slightest. Watchers of Rule may not re-invent the wheel, but at this stage in the band’s firmly established career, that seems far from the point.
Once again, Unearth have fashioned a fully kick-ass album overflowing with hi-speed thunderous riffage that comfortably straddles the line between thrash and metalcore, deep soulful breakdowns that you can’t help but bang your head to, powerful vocals that sit perfectly atop all sorts of triumphant guitar leads, and a precise, hard-hitting rhythm section fantastically helmed by somewhat recent addition drummer Nick Pierce (just two years in Unearth, this is his first album with the band – previous album Darkness in the Light featured Killswitch Engage’s Justin Foley on drums).
It’s often difficult not to compare the originality of a long-running band’s new material to its older work, but in this case that seems almost like a moot point since Unearth have always had such a fiercely defined sound, and Watchers only serves to support that consistent identity. Thankfully the band’s music remains thoroughly enjoyable, you just know that this material will kill live. I predict that the younger generation of metalheads who may not have been hip to the glory of The Oncoming Storm will get down with this new album in a major way, and salivate at the mere thought of being in the pit at an Unearth show.
Listen to “The Swarm” (the first track from Watchers of Rule) and tell me I’m wrong. This song has it all, and serves as a great introduction to a truly mighty album.
Some might argue that metalcore’s heyday is long past and the style has little place in today’s metal scene, which is obviously a much different landscape from ten years ago when The Oncoming Storm was released. But it’s nice to see that a subgenre which has clearly been so clearly influenced by Unearth can now be rejuvenated by the masters who helped to create the sound originally.
If you were a ding-dong like me and unfortunately missed the band’s recent tour celebrating the tenth Anniversary tour The Oncoming Storm by playing the album in its entirety, don’t pass up the opportunity to see Unearth live when they tour this Fall with Crowbar and Black Crown Initiate.