Erase Me, Underoath’s first release since 2010, has the band shedding labels and expectations. They’ve made it clear they no longer identify as a “Christian band,” and are freeing themselves from the confines of making music that’s “Underoath enough.” The band hits hard and heavy, lyrically and musically with Erase Me.
The frantic, but groovy “It Has to Start Somewhere” kicks off Erase Me. The pounding guitars, haunting lead, and pleading of singer Spencer Chamberlain, “I’ve lost myself, please God give me a chance…my God this is so damn useless!” sets the scene for the gritty ride you’re about to go on.
While Erase Me doesn’t seem as heavy as 2010’s O (Disambiguation), the hardcore moments are still there. “On My Teeth” is a relentless attack with driving guitars, with the vocals alternating between screaming and singing.
Chamberlain told Revolver Magazine that if Underoath had not decided to shed the labels that were weighing the band down, he would have died. His struggle with addiction and the isolation he felt when dealing with it are the major theme of Erase Me. Songs like the “Rapture,” and “ihateit,” really take you to that place.
This is a good time to mention Erase Me is the return of founding member and drummer/vocalist, Aaron Gillespie. He really shines with “On My Teeth” and “Bloodlust.” Intense beats make the songs really pound, and interesting drum fills bring even more depth to the tracks.
The middle of the album veers a bit more atmospheric, allowing keyboard player Chris Dudley to make his mark. “Wake Me” features lyrics anyone who has struggled with anxiety can relate to: “maybe this is a cry for help, maybe I should forgive myself…”
The aforementioned “Bloodlust” is dizzying, alternating between a jazzy verse, and a heavy chorus, ending with one of the heaviest guitar parts on the album before fading back.
“Sink With Me” is an angry cry to those who watch others struggle without helping. Once again Gillespie delivers a unique beat that carries the song, while Chamberlain expertly flows between screaming and singing.
By far my favorite song on Erase Me is “Hold Your Breath.” It comes at a point in the album that needs a shot of energy, and it definitely delivers. The timing of the music perfectly compliments that incredibly catchy chorus, while the verses are among the heaviest moments of the album.
Late in the game, the trippy “No Frame” smacks you with another surprise, an electronic and groovy tune, driven by a restrained delivery with vocal effects, before turning up the volume and bringing in the guitars of Tim McTague and James Smith.
Erase Me closes with the pop-punk “In Motion,” and the piano-driven “I Gave Up.” The latter is haunting and sad, declaring, “every day is a lie, every mile a mountain.”
Erase Me feels authentic, honest, and raw. It’s obvious making this album was a cathartic experience for the band. There’s something for anyone who likes hardcore, metalcore, or just heavy music.
Welcome back, guys.
Erase Me will be released on Fearless Records April 6.
Underoath’s headlining tour dates:
April 30 Birmingham, AL Iron City
May 1 Athens, GA Georgia Theatre
May 3 Knoxville, TN Mill and Mine
May 5 Lynchburg, VA Phase 2
May 6 Bethlehem, PA The Sands
May 8 Baltimore, MD Rams Head Live
May 9 Wallingford, CT The Dome at Oakdale
May 11 Providence, RI Fete Ballroom
May 12 Niagara Falls, NY Rapids
May 14 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
May 15 Sauget, IL Pop’s
May 16 Ft. Wayne, IN Piere’s
May 19 Lexington, KY Manchester Music Hall
May 20 Springfield, MO Gillioz
May 22 Corpus Christi, TX Concrete Street Amphitheatre
May 23 Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall
May 24 Dallas, TX Bomb Factory
May 25 Little Rock, AR Metroplex