There’s few bands that make me more proud to hail from Florida than Underoath. The post-hardcore veterans (who witnessed a rebirth recently) are touring this spring, and it’s sure to be an event for those who missed the boat on seeing them live. Having witnessed them live for the first time back in 2007 on my 18th birthday (with Every Time I Die, Poison The Well, and Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster), it was an experience that I’ll remember always.
Underoath is one of those bands that make me feel young again. Is it true that the best bands remind you of specific times and places? It is for me, at least. Growing up, they were truly one of the first metalcore bands I latched onto – over time, I began to appreciate their evolution (especially from 2004’s TOCS, to 2006’s Define The Great Line), and an incredible career that influenced just about every like-minded band that came after (August Burns Red, The Devil Wears Prada, for sure). The best quote to sum up the band’s sphere of influence? This gem from our friends at Kill The Music. “A lot of bands nowadays should be paying royalties to them.” It should also be noted that the band made some killer music videos – the ones for “Writing On The Walls” and “In Division” were two notable ones.
It’s even harder to choose 10 of their best songs. Our list will likely be different than yours – but there’s plenty of unsurprising choices as well.
“You’re Ever So Inviting” (2006, Define The Great Line)
“Desperate Times Desperate Measures” (2008, Lost In The Sound Of Separation)
“In Division” (2010, Disambiguation)
“Catch Myself Catching Myself” (2010, Disambiguation)
“When The Sun Sleeps” (2002, The Changing Of Times)
“A Divine Eradication” (2010, Disambiguation)
“Casting Such A Thin Shadow” (2006, Define The Great Line)
#10: “Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape” (2004, They’re Only Chasing Safety)
Aaron Marsh (Copeland) and Aaron Gillespie team up for this unexpected, beautiful number. And really, when you have the voices of angels, you can’t help but collaborate on something that’s extremely passionate. It’s a song so good that it makes you realize just how powerful music can be.
#9: “Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear” (2008, Lost In The Sound Of Separation)
Led by Aaron Gillespie (in one of his finest vocal performances, period), the song makes a sharp left turn into an incredible final minute where Spencer and Aaron trade vocal refrains until you’re left with an explosive finale that has some killer buildup.
#8: “My Deteriorating Incline” (2010, Disambiguation)
One of Underoath’s hallmarks was the fact that they got heavier over time, culminating in some cagey, riff-fueled monsters like arguably Disambiguation’s best song, “My Deteriorating Incline”.
#7: “Returning Empty Handed” (2006, Define The Great Line)
Pummeling metalcore riffage gives way to stunning post-metal flourishes, a la Cult Of Luna and Isis (who were definitely massive influences on this record). Especially here, Underoath’s more lengthy songs are among the best.
#6: “A Boy Brushed Red…” (2004, They’re Only Chasing Safety)
For me at least, this song accurately describes your first experience with the opposite sex. That such an experience can be spoken of so poetically is astounding.
Don’t shake, I hate to see you tremble
Trembling you’ve lost your touch
Haven’t you, I’m so addicted
#5: “Reinventing Your Exit” (2004, They’re Only Chasing Safety)
TOCS is my least favorite album of Underoath’s “Big Four” albums (from 2004-2010). That’s not a disservice – it’s still a very memorable album to me. That said, it contains obvious gems – “Reinventing Your Exit”, especially. The sing-scream dynamic was previously pioneered by bands like From Autumn To Ashes, but Underoath carried the torch and ran with it on this album, inspiring many similar bands to do the same.
#4: “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door” (2004, They’re Only Chasing Safety)
Memorable lines everywhere. Tasteful electronics backed up by Aaron singing the choruses and Spencer shouting the lyrics. Classic Underoath.
Time is running, its running on empty and the gas is running out
I’ve decided that tonight is the night
That I set love aside
Full speed ahead this seems to be the place
I’ve seen this once before
Planned perfection sought in my dreams
Hoping this would take you home
#3: “Writing On The Walls” (2006, Define The Great Line)
Arguably Underoath’s most recognizable and iconic song, it was an easy choice near the top of this list. One of the cornerstones of Define The Great Line, it’s even more interesting for the awesome video they filmed for it (in Sweden).
#2: “To Whom It May Concern” (2006, Define The Great Line)
This song is the closest Underoath would ever get to post-metal icons like Russian Circles and Isis – in a way that suggests these influences, not being a rip-off of them. If you want to hear what the apocalypse at the end of the world sounds like, with crushing, sludgy guitar riffs that combine with Spencer’s mid-range screams, with a touch of hope in the lyrics, here you go. Because that’s exactly what it sounds like.
Behind the mask you’ll find yourself alone
It’s not the end of road for you
#1B: “Paper Lung” (2010, Disambiguation)
The Deftones influence is very real. One of Underoath’s biggest influences, it’s the strongest song on Disambiguation, and another in a long line of Underoath “slow-burners” – tracks that take multiple listens to digest, but are no less effective doing so. In fact, it would be Underoath’s best song, if not for…
#1A: “In Regards To Myself” (2006, Define The Great Line)
10 just wasn’t enough. Underoath’s best song, at least for this superfan, is the opener to Define The Great Line. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that it’s a fast, ferocious number with some absolutely crushing breakdowns – and some incredible vocal versatility from Spencer Chamberlain. Of special note is the singing from Aaron Gillespie – 2 years removed from TOCS and he clearly had developed even better vocal range, marking himself a more effective counterpoint to Spencer Chamberlain’s scintillating screams.
What songs did we miss? What are your favorite Underoath songs? Sound off in the comments!