January 25, 2007 | | 3.5

Unearth, III: In The Eyes of Fire

Unearth is one of those bands that I have enjoyed a great deal the past couple of years. Their brand of metalcore has evolved and matured well over that time bringing the band much deserved success. Unlike several bands that have softened with their success, Unearth appears to be moving toward a heavier, more complex sound. III: In The Eyes of Fire is a prime example of a band leveraging their success to bring a heavier sound to a larger audience base.

There are several tracks on this album that really surprised me. I was expecting more of the same from their latest effort. My initial listen involved me backing through several portions of many of the songs, asking myself repeatedly, “Did I just hear that?”

This Glorious Nightmare
The first track starts of rapidly and powerful. It’s an extension of their last release, The Oncoming Storm, and a logical song to start with to build that transition. Trevor Phipps vocals sound a bit more polished and powerful as well. Drummer Mike Justian has stepped it up a notch as well. His delivery is inspired on this one.

Before this album was released, the band sent out “Giles” as its first single, as well as an accompanying video. It was a great introduction to the band’s heavier, more energized sound. I love the opening scream and pounding, chaotic drums.

March of the Mutes
At this point in the album, I’m pretty sure I had already strained my neck. “March of the Mutes” starts off dramatically with a brief bit of orchestral instrumentation before transitioning smoothly into chugging guitars and drums. Layered vocals in the chorus are a nice touch.

Sanctity of Brothers
I love the riff that starts this one off. It’s a bit old school (think Testament), but with a modern drive to it.

The Devil Has Risen
The beginning of this track sounds like the marching of the devil’s armies and a call for them to rise and destroy. I love it! There are more thrashing guitars and beats than you can throw your devil horns at.

This Time Was Mine
A higher toned, speeding riff keeps the blood pumping as this next track hits. There is a chugging, plodding flow to this one that thankfully doesn’t slow the momentum of the album. There are some great tempo changes to keep this one interesting.

The longest track on the album at 5:05 minutes in length, “Unstoppable” is an angry, churning announcement of change. This is a prototypical Unearth track, full of their usual tricks and trademark sound. This would have fit seamlessly on The Oncoming Storm.

So It Goes
A huge In Flames style riff opens this track up. No need to worry about this one sounding similar to the previously mentioned band though, the riff fades to driving drums and speedy guitar work. This song is a prime example of the maturation of the band’s overall sound.

Impostors Kingdom
A great scream and chaotic drumming and guitars should wake any one up at the onset of this song. Trevor uses a bit of a deeper delivery that we haven’t heard yet on the album. It’s not used throughout the song, but is employed nicely here and there as punctuation. It’s probably the heaviest and my favorite track on the album.

Bled Dry
“Bled Dry” keeps the momentum and power flowing nicely with some of the album’s hardest, craziest drumming and guitar work. There are just too many good songs on this album.

Big Bear and the Hour of Chaos
Unfortunately the band chose to end this latest release with an instrumental. I understand why bands want to do this, but after such a powerful and heavy album there’s no need to attempt to sooth our inner demon. Let the album end hard. Let us deal with the sudden quiet.

~ ~ ~

III: In The Eyes of Fire is by far the best release from this Massachusetts band. It’s great to see a band not wither or soften in the face of success. Unearth has kept their trademark sound, but made it more dynamic and heavier — and there’s just no damned thing wrong with that.

Favorite Tracks:
This Glorious Nightmare
Sanctity of Brothers
The Devil Has Risen
Impostors Kingdom

Additional Notes: