Legendary metalcore band Unearth have returned with their sixth studio release, Watchers Of Rule, and in true Unearth fashion, it is a fast-paced, abrasive romp. With blast beats like Pantera, guitar runs like Lamb Of God, and vocals akin to the various frontmen of Shai Hulud, Watchers Of Rule will be sure to leave listeners dazed by Unearth’s sheer musical audacity.
This album sees the band exploring their metal and thrash roots with a greater emphasis on kick drum beats that mimic rhythms established by the guitars, as evidenced in “Lifetime In Ruins,” which features a minute-long homophonic intro, consisting of the guitars, bass, and kick drum playing heavily syncopated “rolls.” Another metal-based feature on Watchers Of Rule is dissonant chromaticism, which consists of heavy minor second use, especially in the guitar melodies. “From The Tombs Below” has a dual-guitar solo, in which the lead and rhythm play the same riff, but at different pitches, creating a larger sound.
Most bands in the metal scene claim that each new release is “heavier” and “more brutal” than the last; however, there comes a point when you can’t get any heavier without sounding bad. Unearth have gone to that peak of heaviness and, rather than tipping over the edge, managed to stay at the same level, all while refining and expanding their sound. Watches Of Rule might not be the “heaviest, most brutal” metalcore album out there, but by sticking to their style and making it sound exceptional, Unearth have outdone most of their contemporaries.
Simply put, this album is one that you’d enjoy best by putting in your car’s CD player, turning up the volume to 11, and driving down the Parkway.