Review: Underoath – Ø Disambiguation


Solid State

Released November 9 2010

Reviewed By Tyler Hess

I remember that day better than most of you do, as it happened to be on the same day of the year that I celebrate my birth by not going to work, when the news broke that would forever change how Underoath would be defined, or at least that is what we all thought. In Spring, Aaron Gillespie dropped the bombshell on the band that he was a part of from the beginning what they all saw coming, that he was taking his talents elsewhere.  As the changes hit the fan and the news wire, fans began to freak out at the possibilities of what would become of the band, after all the drummer’s clean vocals exchanged with front man Spencer Chamberlain’s screams to do no less than lead the charge in the band that has defined the genre known as metalcore over the past few years.  Yet, it appears that what we have here is exactly what we really should have suspected all along, which is that Underoath’s new album, Ø Disambiguation, is exactly what one would imagine Underoath to sound like without Gillespie.

From everything that I had heard before actually hearing the majority of the band’s seventh studio album this was going to be their darkest and most chaotic album to date.  In some activities, one out of two is a decent ratio, including this one where it most certainly is darker than anything I’ve heard from the band (admittedly being mostly the Chamberlain era).  Thankfully, the other is not true, as this is a much smoother operation than Lost In The Sound of Separation ever could have imagined being (now that was a chaotic experience), with a much deeper and fluid tone that operates with great transition throughout the album, rather than the choppiness of their prior effort and without any of the screamo-pop that they had converted from back in the days of “They’re Only Chasing Safety”.  Chamberlain’s own clean vocals are nothing to sneeze at and former Norma Jean drummer Daniel Davison help create a sound that will make many forget Gillespie altogether, as the opinion on his own vocals vary between amazing and annoying (I choose the former, but I know many who have argued the latter).

In the end, we can talk about brutality, darkness and atmosphere until our throats are hoarse and our fingers are calloused, but for me those aren’t even in question as the talent is obviously there and this really does feel like the most complete and competent Underoath album to date.  Still, it is missing perhaps the one thing that distinguished them from many other bands and caused their popularity in the first place, which is the pop rock anxiety that Gillespie brought to the table.  For some it will be a case of good riddance, for some it will cause mass quantities of nostalgia.  I guess you can say that some will seek safety, others disambiguation.

Grade: A

Tracklisting

  1. In Division
  2. Catch Myself Catching Myself
  3. Paper Lung
  4. Illuminator
  5. Driftwood
  6. A Divine Eradication
  7. Who Will Guard The Guardians
  8. Reversal
  9. Vacant Mouth
  10. In Completion
  11. My Deteriorating Incline
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5 responses to “Review: Underoath – Ø Disambiguation

  1. Justin November 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I agree with the overall review. I do believe that Define The Great Line was more chaotic than Lost in the Sound of Separation, but that’s my opinion. My reasoning for this is that the sound that was brought forward in DTGL was vastly different from They’re Only Chasing Safety, the album that got myself, and I’m sure countless others into UnderOATH. To me, Separation seemed to the be the same sound as DTGL, but more controlled, but that is my own opinion.

    I think that Disambiguation is an album all it’s own, and is an impressive sound through and through. Although I miss Gillepsie, and for me, Chasing Safety is my fav album by UnderOATH, Disambiguation is not an album we can turn away from. Disambiguation is UnderOATH redefining themselves once more, and they do it quite well.

  2. Tyler Hess November 7, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    yea I know a lot of ppl think dgtl and litsos are really similar, but i can see a little bit of safety in it as well, so i think it is a transitional album. personally i’m more of a fan of safety, but to not recognize the talent and production of this album would be pretty silly, its good stuff even if it isnt the same stuff

  3. Jubran November 11, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    This is probably the worst review of this album I’ve ever read.

  4. Anthony November 11, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Wow. Care to elaborate?

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