It’s perhaps best not to think of the amount of pressure that has to be on an artist when the time for releasing new music finally arrives, after a long eight years. Somehow, with “Erase Me”, Underoath have managed to deliver an album that not only exudes confidence and progression, but also pulls it off in a way that feels like they didn’t pay much attention to the expectation that lay upon them.
In my interview with Aaron Gillespie, who once again helms the album’s drumming duties for the first time since 2008’s “Lost in the Sound of Separation”, he stated that “Erase Me” is made up of a collection of vignettes, as opposed to one unifying theme tying the album’s eleven tracks together. This is evident in the flow from track to track – where previous outings would often have songs flowing seamlessly into one another, the songs here stand definitively and separately.
Instead of writing to their established strengths and sonic explorations, Underoath threw caution to the wind here and took some bold risks, to fascinating results. The pop edge to the verses of ‘Wake Me’, startlingly left-field synth and vocal effects of ‘No Frame’ and audacious groove of the chorus in ‘Rapture’ are a few instances where some long-time fans might feel divided, but these striking decisions showcase a whole new side to the band’s artistry and abilities. They pull all of this off while still sounding, undoubtedly, like Underoath.
On the production side, Matt Squire captured a layered and detailed sonic landscape, achieving an admirable balance of shine and grit. This works incredibly well with the band’s new sound, especially on songs like the jaw-dropping ‘Bloodlust’ and the massive, hook-laden ‘In Motion’.
As far as musical maturity and progression goes, “Erase Me” is a masterclass on how to pull it off with style and integrity. Those unwilling to get on board with the new era of Underoath will need to prepare to be left behind.
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Listen to the album on Apple Music.