Underoath are vocalist Spencer Chamberlain, keyboardist Christopher Dudley, guitarist Tim McTague, bassist Grant Brandell, drummer Aaron Gillespie, and guitarist James Smith. Copyrighted photo courtesy of Tooth & Nail Records.
While Christian rock is now readily accepted, even in churches that don't use it as part of their worship, hardcore metal remains a genre a lot of listeners have a hard time wrapping their minds around as a product of faith. How do you find the message is music where the vocalist sounds like he or she is in the very act of retching and the music sounds so angry?
Even as someone who listens to music for a living, there have been times I've walked away from a metalcore set, say at Ichthus, thinking the fans are hearing something I don't get. I have to add though, that when you sit down and talk to a lot of these groups, hardcore describes their faith as well as their music.
For several Underoath albums though, there has been no doubt where they're coming from, and the Tampa band's latest disc is masterpiece of faith-based metal.
One of the things Underoath is constantly credited with is finding melody in the madness, a trick that can be largely credited to drummer Aaron Gillespie, who had a hit of his own in 2007 with the debut of his side act, The Almost. And melody certainly is an aspect of the band's sound, something that makes it accessible to people unwilling to endure 45-minutes of punishing sound to find a message to hold onto. Even in Underoath's accessible world, their music is still an acquired taste.
But more than melody, Underoath finds majesty. It finds majesty in how it pairs melody with howl, the firmness of the rhythm section of Gillespie and bassist Grant Brandell, and the intricate harmonies and melodies the rest of the band lays on top of their base, worthy of comparison to John Bonham and John Paul Jones.
Most of all, in this album, this album finds majesty in a deeply explored theme of searching for God in the midst of despair and loss. That is ultimately what makes Lost in the Sound of Separation a Christian rock masterpiece, and it puts to rest any question whether metalcore can convey a message of faith.
Fireflight concert: Riding the success of their hit single and album, Unbreakable, Fireflight blazes into Kentucky next week with a Sept. 23 show in Louisville and Sept. 24 gig at Lexington Christian Academy.
The concerts are presented by Ichthus Ministries, which brought Fireflight to its festival in June.
New music: Today, we get new music from Nevertheless, which opens for Fireflight in Louisville, as well as 33 Miles, Decyfer Down, Group 1 Crew, Bebo Norman and Krystal Meyers, who we liked last week.
Superchick's Rock What You Got was reportedly used on MTV's The Hills this week, and the band's music is also featured on race car driver Danica Patrick's website.