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Unearth - The March review

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Band: Unearth
Album: The March
Style: Metalcore
Release date: October 2008

Disc I [CD]
01. My Will Be Done
02. Hail The Shrine
03. Crow Killer
04. Grave Of Opportunity
05. We Are Not Anonymous
06. The March
07. Cutman
08. The Chosen
09. Letting Go
10. Truth Or Consequence
11. Our Callous Skin [digibook bonus]

Disc II [DVD limited edition digibook]
+ Making of The March
+ Studio Update
    1 - Preproduction - Part 1
    2 - Preproduction - Part 2
    3 - Guitars
    4 - Vocals
    5 - Backup Vocals

Every time I think of Unearth, I wonder how they never broke through from the second tier of metalcore, always remaining a band with potential stuck on the periphery; it is when you listen to the albums in detail that you begin to see why. The band's fourth and arguably biggest record, The March, is a conflicting record; for as good as it can be, it can be just as bland at other times.

Starting off with its strongest track "My Will Be Done", The March shows off what potential it has when the stars align. Your luck as a listener is in, as lightening does strike multiple times, with tracks like "Grave Of Opportunity", "Cutman" and "The Chosen" emerging from the storm as the brightest moments on the album. Featuring some great riffs and fist-pumping moments, these songs rumble along and grab your attention. The solo in "The Chosen" is probably one of the most underrated in metalcore, with "My Will Be Done" rightly seen as a standard in the genre's canon.

While the other tracks don't match the level of quality those four tracks set, they aren't particularly bad, they are just there; they play themselves out and come to the end. Even when I try to remember them, there is little to get a grip on and you find yourself looking for something that isn't there. Take "Letting Go" for example, the only defining feature of the track is its slow tempo; beyond that you struggle to recall any distinct features of said song. This doesn't ruin the album, it just doesn't add to the album; I can listen to the tracks, but I can't say I'd be bothered if I didn't get to hear them again.

What probably adds to this sense of false familiarity is that the band are as inventive as they are derivative in equal measure. For every decent riff or drum pattern, there is either something remarkably similar or generic to balance this out. The main riff to "Crow Killer" seems to be slightly altered and served up again and again, which ends up with it being hard to distinguish between some tracks. Phipps' vocals play a big part in this; with his vocal patterns being much the same throughout the album, it compounds this issue a lot.

The band however do deserve credit for the idea in the first place if I am to critique them for repeating it; the guitar work does offer up some good riffs and solos that help the band stand out. Phipps, while not offering much in terms of variation, does at least make the most of his limited range, with a powerful voice that pushes forward in the mix. Maggard's bass sounds thick and booming, but unfortunately does little to make the most of such a great tone.

Unearth were a band who always just came up short in the grand scheme of things, The March being no different. The band could craft some killer tracks, but just never enough for them to stand upon and smash the glass ceiling above them. The March is good for casual listening, but put anywhere near a microscope or close listening then you will see the flaws flow out of the record.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written by omne metallum | 25.05.2020

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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