Review: Underoath’s Comeback Album Erase Me Feels Tired and Uninspired
It’s been almost eight years since Underoath released Ø (Disambiguation). In the time since, a lot has happened, especially in terms of heavy music trends. Maybe that’s a part of the reason that the band’s latest effort, Erase Me, feels tired. They’ve attempted to continue where they left off but lost a lot of the bite that made their previous effort so appealing.
You can get a good feel for Erase Me from the opening track, “It Has to Start Somewhere.” The song begins with meandering guitars while electronic beats shuffle their distorted sound waves underneath, giving way to drums that power forward while keeping a sense of the overall pace. While the beginning is encouraging, it quickly becomes apparent that the song isn’t going anywhere — there are no highlights. After about two minutes it shifts into a new pace that packs some much-needed groove, but I couldn’t escape the whole “been there, done that” feel of the track.
Tracks like “Bloodlust,” “I Gave Up,” and “Wake Me” do nothing to spur further interest, attempting to highlight melody by putting a focus on clean vocals but ending up delving into sea after sea of cliched song structure. Trickling verses give way to booming choruses that aspire to be more than what they are and as a result end up falling flat.
“On My Teeth” is without a doubt one of the highlights of the album, but it’s successful because it’s one of the only songs that taps into the heavier direction presented in their previous effort. The drummer, Aaron Gillespie, kicks so much ass — his performance throughout the album is top-notch — but a lot of the positives end there with a song structure that recycles things you’ve already heard.
Lyrically, the band hasn’t done much in terms of growth. You’d think a band that’s been around for 21 years — especially one with an eight year break — would have something more poignant to say considering the times we’re living in, but there’s nothing here packing substance; the record is brimming with angst-ridden lyrics that feel like they’re targeted towards a teen audience. And maybe that’s the ultimate point to take away: everything about Erase Me feels… adolescent.
It’s not a boring listen per se, but it’s not fresh. A significant portion of the material here feels like something bands like Bring Me the Horizon and Norma Jean beat into the ground circa in the late ’00s and early ’10s. While I’m sure some fans will be content with that, if you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself wondering whether or not any of this was worth your time.