Sunday, 17 May 2009

CD Review: The Oncoming Storm, by Unearth (2004)


The second CD from Massachusetts' Unearth reveals clear glimpses of the band's potential, mixed in with some still basic song composition and lack of sophistication.

On The Oncoming Storm, Unearth generate a lot of consistent, positive and well-channeled power. Unfortunately, a lot of it emerges in the form of heat, instead of light. Almost every song has an above-average (and sometimes brilliant) passage or nugget of melodic metal; but very few of the songs manage to hold together an integrated narrative from beginning to end, and the transitions within the songs are often jarring. The result is an always interesting but also always patchy CD.

However, there is no mistaking the emerging talent. The band sounds tight: Trevor Phipps' mid-range growl meshes perfectly with the guitar work delivered by duo McGrath and Susi, who on occasion channel the best of Iron Maiden with deft subtlety. The drums of Mike Justian and bass of John Maggard are prominent without being overpowering. Overall, the mix of the CD by Adam Dutkiewicz (of Killswitch Engage) is spot-on.

All the tracks emphasize control, precision and interesting melodies, and on the best tracks like CD openers The Great Dividers and Failure, the epic-titled Zombie Autopilot and showcase Predetermined Sky, Unearth clearly demonstrate confident strides towards a bright and mature future.

Special mention should go to the guitar solo work on Predetermined Sky, with its jaw-dropping simplicity, structure and brilliance. It says everything about the CD that the solo seems to just drop into the song, and barely ties into the rest of the track on either end.

Band:

Trevor Phipps - Vocals
Buz McGrath - Guitar
Ken Susi - Guitar
John "Slo" Maggard - Bass
Mike Justian - Drums

Songlist (Ratings out of 10):

1. The Great Dividers - 8
2. Failure - 8
3. This Lying World - 6
4. Black Hearts Now Reign - 7
5. Zombie Autopilot - 8
6. Bloodlust Of The Human Condition - 6
7. Lie To Purify - 7
8. Endless - 7
9. Aries - 7
10. Predetermined Sky - 8
11. False Idols - 7

Average: 7.18

Produced, Engineered, and Mixed by Adam Dutkiewicz.
Mastered by Alan Douches.

The Oncoming Storm at the Ace Black Store.
The Ace Black Blog CD Review No. 30.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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