Unearth, The March

Jon Wiederhorn

By Jon Wiederhorn

on 06.14.11 in Reviews
The perfect balance between percussive teeth-gnashing and euphoric virtuosity

Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall are usually the first two bands associated with the Western Massachusetts metalcore scene; this is no small slight to Unearth, who have been banging around since 1998 and have grown dramatically without resorting to the genre’s trademark hardcore verse, melodic chorus vocal construct. Instead, Unearth have relied on guitarists Ken Susi and Buzz McGrath to provide the hooks and the meat, and on their fourth album, The March, they hit the perfect balance between percussive teeth-gnashing and euphoric virtuosity. Opening track “My Will Be Done” demonstrates their ability to shuffle between crushing riffs, blazing leads and guitar harmonies equally inspired by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and Swedish death metal. The highlight is “Crow Killer,” which injects Mercyful Fate-worthy six string workouts between chugging, downtuned breakdowns. And whenever Unearth veer too close to prog, vocalist Trevor Phipps tears them back to earth with larynx-bursting screams that could make Henry Rollins grab his throat in sympathy.