Unearth Still Lack That Killer Punch

Unearth have been doing the circuit for a while now and there comes a time when every promising band has to stand up and deliver that killer album, or otherwise disappear into anonymity. 'The March' probably isn’t it for Unearth.

Which is not to say it’s not good, at times excellent even, but it is absolutely not a classic. Is it an improvement on their previous? Probably. Will it win them new fans, without losing their core audience? Almost certainly. So what then, I hear you cry, is missing?

'The March' is certainly not lacking a well thought out concept; in this case the battle between good and evil. To be specific the march alluded to in the album’s title is either going to be a “march of power and greed, or one of a unified human race” to quote lead singer Trevor Phipps.

As an album it’s not without passion, indeed Phipps pretty much spits through your speakers with rage and yearning. Lyrically he’s probably never been better, best showcased on the title track and 'Crow Killer' (about Jeremiah Johnson’s revenge on the Crow Indians who murdered his wife, since you asked).

The riffs come hard and fast, and the solo work, which whilst borrowing a little too heavily from John Petrucci’s copy book, are destined for Guitar Hero.

But despite all of this, the album never truly rings true. Phipps’s fine lyrics are ultimately pointless unless you have them written before you, as much of his guttural bellowing is unintelligible. As such it is only ever really the chorus’s that are discernible, and as such much of 'The March' could be any other metalcore album.

Musically the album lacks character, and whilst for their fourth long player Unearth have reunited with Killswitch Engage member Adam Dutkiewicz for production duties, there’s nothing particularly new on offer here.

Songs bleed into each, and despite persistent listening no one track stands out from the rest. For all the rattling drums, scorching riffs, and solo showboating, when the dust settles and the album comes to an end there is no compulsion to hit ‘play’ again. And that’s the crux of it.