Friday, 3 August 2012

CD Review: Darkness In The Light, by Unearth (2011)

After the excellent The March, Unearth return to, erm, Earth with a bit of disappointing thud. Darkness In The Light is not as bungling as its title suggests, but the fifth full-length album from the Massachusetts metalcore band struggles to find a sharp edge.

Generally annoying clean vocals intrude at regular intervals and uninspired breakdowns frequently arrive too late to save the day. But the biggest drag on Darkness In The Light is the lack of innovative ideas. There is precious little here that hasn't been heard before, and within the album itself a strong sense of sameness prevails, Unearth unable to give the tracks too many distinguishing features. All the tracks offer pretty much the same tempo, the same length, and the same tone.

The album is produced by frequent collaborator Adam Dutkiewicz, best known as Killswitch Engage's guitarist. The recording sounds unfortunately muddy, cramping Unearth' sound which cries out for a more crisp execution.

There is still a load of talent and an attitude of committed engagement to overcome the weaknesses, and Darkness In The Light does offer some appreciated goodies. The energy level is never less than dedicated, and the delivery emphasizes sweaty professionalism. The album never sparkles, but it is also never flat.

The sum of the performances are greater than the individual effort, with Trevor Phipps' vocals still the most noticeable attribute of Unearth's sound. In the absence of a full-time drummer, Justin Foley of Killswitch Engage fills in with enthusiasm, and the guitars of Buz McGrath and Ken Susi create the metalcore wall of sound without straying too far into more ambitious territory. The few attempts at solos lack either conviction or destination.

Darkness In The Light is caught in the grey zone where it can neither be loved nor hated: its just lingers, like clouds turning attempted daylight into prematurely gloomy dusk.


John Maggard - Bass
Trevor Phipps - Vocals
Buz McGrath - Guitar
Ken Susi - Guitar, Clean Vocals

Drums: Justin Foley of Killswitch Engage

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Watch It Burn - 8
2. Ruination Of The Lost - 8
3. Shadows In The Light - 7
4. Eyes Of Black - 7
5. Last Wish - 7
6. Arise The War Cry - 8
7. Equinox - 7
8. Coming Of The Dark - 7
9. The Fallen - 8
10. Overcome - 7
11. Disillusion - 7

Average: 7.36

Produced  by Adam Dutkiewicz.
Engineered by Adam Dutkiewicz and Ken Susi.
Mastered by Alan Douches.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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