17 Jan 2022 - Sebastian
Post-Hardcore / Metalcore | Fearless Records | Release date: 14 Jan 2022 | Favorite song: Hallelujah
In 2004 Underoath released They’re Only Chasing Safety which is still considered one of the best post-hardcore albums of all time and now, after 18 years, can be rightfully called a classic. Will their newest work Voyeurist achieve the same fame or will it be just a small side-note in Underoath’s discography? We gotta wait a few years to find that out, but that should not stop us from giving the album a close listen now.
Thankfully we didn’t have to wait for eight years for another album after 2018’s Erase Me, but with almost four years waiting Underoath-fans were starved for new music. Voyeurist tries to satisfy the craving with ten new songs, five of which were released in advance to the album as singles.
Musically, this new work is the logical continuation of what the Floridian six-piece started on their last album and even earlier. The album incorporates lots of samples, electronic sounds and is, while still leaning on the heavy side, quite accessible for new listeners. While the inclusion of the f-word in ”On My Teeth” on their previous album sparked quite the controversy, as they had never used it before, this time there is no such “debate” to be expected, especially since they announced in 2018 that they don’t consider themselves a Christian band anymore.
So what does Voyeurist sound like? The album starts off with ”Damn Excuses” and ”Hallelujah”, which were also the first singles pre-released. They sound just as you’d expect after their previous album. They are hard-hitting and yet quite melodic. The first song is especially heavy and should help lure some sceptics in and then present the new Underoath sound to them once they started listening. ”Hallelujah” is equally heavy but more melodic. It is also reminiscent of the band’s older albums. ”I’m Pretty Sure I’m Out Of Luck And Have No Friends” is more of a moody interlude with only the last minute or so really picking up pace.
”Cycle” featuring Ghostmane is quite evidently one of the problems one could have with the album: It sometimes sounds a bit too busy yet bland. The constant soundscape created by the electronic sounds and the screams lack some dynamics and can feel sterile at times. The constant synthesizer noise might be too much for some. It is a very subjective feeling, but this thought came to me when I first listened to the album and now after a few listens I still stand by it.
Most songs are in that style then, with the last son ”Pneumonia” being a notable exception. It is more progressive and more “post”-influenced. If you’ve listened to the singles, this should come as no surprise, because the last two tracks ”Numb” and the aforementioned ”Pneumonia” were also released before the album was out. Subjectively this was not the best choice, because if they hadn’t released the last song, then this could’ve been a cool ending that leaves the listener anticipating what the next album will sound like. Of course, if you have not listened to the singles in advance, this song will really be a stand-out track.
All in all, Voyeurist is not a bad record, but one that could be a bit underwhelming for some. If you love the direction Underoath went with Erase Me, you’ll probably like this one too. If you are a bit sceptic of that, give the album at least one listen, it surely isn’t a waste of time and in 18 years we will see whether this album stands the test of time.