CD review: “Extinction(s)” by Unearth

Metalcore Massachusetts act Unearth reach lucky number seven with its newest release, Extinction(s). The four year gap between Watchers of Rule and Exinction(s) has not dulled the band’s penchant for breakdowns and hardcore growls. The riffs are particularly pounding on “Dust” and Survivalist.” The former is an aggressive track showcases Unearth’s ability to meld the melodic guitar conventions of Swedish death metal with the dynamic brutality of American metalcore. Drummer Nick Pierce drives this track with relentless double bass and crushing groove. The latter track “Survivalist” shifts from breakdown to mid-tempo that will certainly incite multiple mosh pits at the band’s show. However, this track is rather generic especially since Unearth are capable of better songwriting. “The Hunt Begins” wades in to sludge metal waters with its thick guitars and slow tempo. Album closer “One With The Sun” is a fast paced affair with notable guitar work. However, the naff breakdown underwhelms an otherwise strong track. The droning choir provides a haunting effect that almost compensates for the song’s midsection.

Extinction(s) is a heavy record, but also a generic record. We have heard the riffs and breakdowns on hundreds of records. Unearth can write good music, but it seems the band dialed it in on half the tracks. This record has some strong points like “Dust” and “Sidewinder” but very little on Extinction(s) grabs the listener. Unearth need not reinvent the wheel, but on this record the band tried to keep things too simple. The album’s production is very sharp providing a thick wall of sound.

Unearth fans may like Extinction(s) if they need their fix of Unearth after a four year wait. People new to heavier metal should check it out, just know this is not Unearth at its best. Unearth still stand head and shoulders above its peers, which is why this release is a slight disappointment. The band is not going extinct, but needs to utilize its full capabilities to avoid endangerment.

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