In the world of post-hardcore, there are many bands who (quite frankly) need no introduction. Standing at the top of that list is FL’s Underøath. From 1999-2013, they were one of the most prolific names in the scene. Wherever there was a festival, their name was among the top-billed artists. Touring the world many times over, living the dream that they all saw in their heads. So it came as a shock when the band disbanded in 2013, leaving a hole that many bands attempted to fill but, to no avail. 2 years later, they returned, bringing with them original drummer Aaron Gillespie (who had left the band in 2010) and a newfound energy. 2018’s Erase Me brought forth a very different sound for the band, garnering them more active rock airplay than ever before. This, coupled with the excitement for the band’s return by fans, made it their highest charting album to date. Polarizing as their evolved sound was, it also managed to bring them into a whole new realm for their fanbase. While 2020 brought forth the COVID-19 pandemic, effectively putting an end to touring, this didn’t stop them from pushing forward with the momentum they’ve built (trying as the times may have been). But how would they top it? Answer: Voyeurist and a welcomed return to their roots. Diving deep back into their post-hardcore sound, this album sees a darker, angrier and more refined version of the band.
“YOU NEVER GAVE ME ANYTHING I WANTED BUT I’M STUCK IN THIS CYCLE WITH YOU!” Vocalist Spencer Chamberlain screams, as pulse-pounding drums fade in before exploding into nu-metal guitar stylings. “SLOW DOWN, YOU’RE GETTING AHEAD OF YOURSELF, MAN” he yells in a southern-metal style vocal tone. A soaring, atmospheric chorus rings out, almost reminiscent of bands like Deftones. The bridge of the track, while more melodic, builds straight into the last breakdown which features some of the heaviest screams delivered by Chamberlain to date. Ghostmane makes an appearance on one of the stand-out tracks, “Cycle” in a cacophonous blend of hardcore, angst-driven melody and clever use of faded-out vocals. Ghostmane, himself, makes an appearance towards the end of the song, in a vocal tete a tete with Chamberlain.
This album features no shortage of experimentation, as has come to be expected. Take tracks like the industrial-themed “Thorn,” which also features EDM elements. Another of these would be “I’m Pretty Sure I’m Out of Luck and Have No Friends” which features some very triggering subject matter in that of a suicide attempt. It begins with a call placed to a number that is no longer in service. Having taken too much of a substance, the panicked subject begins to go back and forth between paranoia and the realization that they made a wrong choice. While the subject makes an emergency call, he tells himself to continue living and push forward. This track, which features an explosive breakdown toward the end, will hit home in more ways than one to those who have ever felt alone. Just remember: there is always someone out there who would rather listen to your story, than read your eulogy.
“Pneumonia,” which is the final track on the album, is a culmination of every theme discussed on Voyeurist. Felings of hopelessness, despair and dismay (created by events within their lives, surrounding and including the pandemic) create an atmosphere of pure darkness. The track, coming in at just over seven minutes in length, features no shortage of surprises. Beginning in an explosion, it builds to an eerie, spacy mid-section. Melodic vocals, the softest heard on the album, are the precursor to some of the heaviest screams on the album which are carried forth until the very end.
There has been a lot of dark music to come out of a dark era for humanity. It’s clear that bands are hurting in ways unimaginable by not being able to create and share the art that helps them to cope. There are few out there that can express that pain, and help their fans to feel it/heal from it, in the way that Underøath can, though. Voyeurist, while dark and dreary in nature, is just as much a healing album as it is an expression of pain. This is a very exciting time in the band’s career, as touring begins to ramp back up and new ways to create have been unveiled in the midst. This album seeks to remind fans why they loved them in the first place and why there will never be another Underoath. Voyeurist was released on January 14th on Fearless Records and can be bought/streamed via the links below. Catch them on their tour with SpiritBox, as they celebrate a return to form and a future full of promise and prosper.
Voyeurist North American tour dates:
02/18 – Dallas, TX @ Southside Ballroom
02/19 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
02/20 – San Antonio, TX @ The Aztec Theatre
02/23 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
02/24 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
02/25 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
02/26 – San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield*
02/28 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO*
03/01 – Vancouver, BC @ The Vogue Theater*
03/02 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory*
03/04 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
03/05 – Denver, CO @ The Ogden Theatre*
03/07 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Fillmore
03/08 – Chicago, IL @ Radius*
03/09 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
03/11 – Toronto, ON @ History
03/12 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora*
03/13 – Wallingford, CT @ The Dome
03/14 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
03/15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
03/17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel*
03/18 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
03/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
03/20 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom*
03/22 – Cincinnati, OH @ ICON
03/23 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
03/25 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle