The March by Unearth
Release date : October 2008
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
In Sayreville, New Jersey on April 18th 2008 at the Starland Ballroom, Unearth vocalist Trevor Phipps revealed the fact that the group would enter a recording studio in June to begin work upon Unearth's fourth full length studio album alongside producer / Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz. Instrumental tracks were mostly recorded at Massachusetts' System Recording Studios, whereas Zing Studios is where Derek Kerswill laid down his drum tracks (marking his inaugural full length appearance as part of Unearth). Songwriting had taken roughly six months, with four to five weeks spent upon recording. “The Chosen”'s original rendition was featured upon the soundtrack to April 2007 movie Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, whilst Norma Jean's Cory Brandan, Scottie Henry, Chris Day, and Jake Schultz supplied backing vocals to “We Are Not Anonymous”. Mixing and mastering duties went to Andy Sneap, whilst cover artwork duties went to Sons of Nero. To plug the release, Metal Blade released specially designed PC and Mac news widgets for download during mid July, where fans could receive updated news, tour information, and studio reports. In late July, the title of Unearth's fourth full length studio album was revealed. Entitled The March, its track listing was additionally unveiled at the same time.
On August 1st, Unearth embarked upon a mainstage appearance at the 2008 Wacken Open Air festival. In mid August, the track “My Will Be Done” was made available for streaming via the group's official MySpace page. Directed by MyGoodEye's David Brodsky (who's helmed videos from the likes of All That Remains, GWAR, Bleeding Through, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Whitechapel), a music video in support of the number was filmed at The Orpheum Theater in New Bedford, Massachusetts on September 14th. “We Are Not Anonymous” was made available for streaming later in the month, with “Hail the Shrine” following shortly thereafter. On October 1st, Unearth embarked upon a North American headlining tour. Handled by Live Nation, Baltimore, Maryland was its first stop, with the tour boasting support from Protest the Hero, The Acacia Strain, Whitechapel, and Gwen Stacy. From October 9th-10th, all of The March's tracks were available for streaming. A day later, “My Will Be Done”'s music video surfaced online. Unearth signed several CD booklets from The March on behalf of Newbury Comics, whom made the autographed items available when fans pre-ordered the album via their website.
Throughout the years, it seems as though Metalcore has gradually lost its Hardcore stylings, and simply leant towards Metal. Of this, Unearth's third full length III: In the Eyes of Fire (2006) possibly forms the greatest example. Sacrificing all in the journey towards astonishing heaviness, III was a lengthy, winded slab of aggression. Literally, it did nothing to encourage repeated listening. The March, however, immediately clinches Unearth's recuperation. Consequently, the album incites an urge towards successive listening.
To Metalcore fanatics, The March stresses not only the fact that Metalcore actually boasts Hardcore elements, but that Unearth are an innovative act whom can be deemed initiators of the genre. The fact that good and evil dwells within all forms the album's lyrical basis, with each word spoken in an authorative, transparent demeanour. In comparison to most Metal acts within 2008's realm, Unearth's lyrical matter delves much deeper. Trevor Phipps' vocal work best exhibits this urgency, a singer whose contributions towards The March uncannily resemble a less irritable Mike Ski (Brother's Keeper, The AKAs). Particularly, Phipps' vocals lean heavily towards American Hardcore stylings prevalent during the mid nineties. A brighter affair, The March obligates listeners to pay sufficient attention towards Unearth.
Musically, The March's diversity forms the album's central difference. Heaviness is no longer an obsession, something which happened to be the case upon Unearth's previous records. In this sense, one foot ventures a step backward. However, The March's other foot ventures a step forward. Weighty, inventive rhythms team alongside hefty breakdowns (Hardcore), and abundant guitar solos (Metal) - collectively, these elements anchor the full length. The group has rediscovered its musical roots, a development best shown by the numbers “My Will Be Done”, and the “The March”. Embracing each respective component which fanatics loved within The Oncoming Storm, both never step so far backward as to seemingly recycle sunnier times. The Gothenburg oriented “Crow Killer”, and “The Chosen”'s optimistic groove, comprise additional highlights. Within The March, dislike cannot be extended towards any specific segments.
Following III's immense disappointment, Unearth was destined to vanish towards Metal's background. However, the group has quickly redeemed itself. Should you take delight in material authored by the likes of In Flames, Brother’s Keeper, Overcast, and Killswitch Engage, then The March will unquestionably seduct your focus.