I can’t imagine the gut-wrenching feeling that must occur when one’s favorite band decides to throw in the towel. If Between the Buried and Me or Devin Townsend just decided to call it quits, I don’t even know what I’d do with myself — probably take some time off to think over this blogging nonsense. With that in mind, Heavy Blog reader Brandon Watson sent us his reaction over Underoath‘s recent decision to split up next year. Check out Brandon’s thoughts on the breakup below. – JR
I struggle to find words. Through my life my taste in music has evolved and matured, as have my sensibilities and feelings toward the act of listening. Continuously, I thrust myself into foreign experiences in search of another act to add to my library. Just as often though, I return to my base. Every listener has a foundation, and that foundation is comprised of the bands that instantly come to mind when people ask what you listen to, or is made of songs you know every twist and turn they have to offer. If there is one album that has influenced what I listen to more so than any other collection of songs, it would Underoath’s Define the Great Line. This is the base of my base, the cornerstone of my taste in music, and the best gateway drug you could ask for.
As of October 2, 2012, Underoath have decided to call it quits. Next year a farewell tour will take place, accompanied by a “Best of” CD, and then that’s it. Fourteen years and seven albums, as well as two Grammy nominations, are things worth bragging about, and are certainly accomplishments anyone would be proud of, but that isn’t what matters to me when I think of this band. Without fail, I can sit and listen to an album by this band and instantly be satisfied. No matter what genre I want at the moment, these guys satisfy my wants, regardless of the fact that they are concretely rooted in post-hardcore (the proggiest of post-hardcore, but post-hardcore nonetheless). There are no genre-jumping moments or anything of that nature here, but I am still deeply enthralled no matter what, and that, in my mind, speaks volumes about what they have accomplished.
My love of Underoath starts at Define the Great Line and moves forward, including They’re Only Chasing Safety and ending with their final album, Disambiguation. In my mind, this is the perfect triad, with each album complementing and building on the others. Every song produced during this era was dense beyond belief, pushing ambiance and emotion to their limits while also packing in huge riffs and fills. These flairs add a spectacular background and truly enhance the narrative being told. What was astounding to me was how the seemingly unrelated parts played by the various instruments could come together and be a cohesive composition, and these parts were often times held together by the vocals. Spencer Chamberlain’s screams were just the right amount of ferocious, and his phrasing was phenomenal, often times coming as close to a hook that these kinds of vocals can get without being too overbearing.
Even with no personal connection to the lyrical themes, I can’t help but feel attached to them. This could just be an outgrowth of my nostalgia, but over the past five years I have recognized their potency more and more. Spiritually, they mean nothing to me, but that’s not what Underoath seems to be going for. Yes, they are singing to God, but they are also singing to the listener, who is a human. The core of humanity is the same no matter what religion you subscribe to, and Underoath aim to hit that. Their themes are universal, yet they are driven by their faith-induced passion. It is humbling to me that they are willing to look past their own lives and reach out and give people a reference point for life, as well as make it into beautiful music. Even when watching the making of Define the Great Line, these guys just seem like all around good people, and that is something to look up to.
There are only so many bands that manage to accomplish what Underoath have done. Love them or hate them, you have to look at how much of an impact they have made through their career as a band and see that they touched people, both spiritually and emotionally. Thankfully, even though they have disbanded, the music will still be there, and I and many, many others will always be reminded of what a band can truly do. I wish every member the best of luck in their futures, and with that I will settle in and reacquaint myself with my favorite album.