2002 to those who are quite older doesn’t feel that long ago. However, it is now twenty years ago. Reflecting back, this writer pondered things they remember from that year. The Houston Texans became the newest team in the NFL, future seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson entered in his rookie season, this writer’s youngest brother, Jayden, was born, and Underoath released their first full-length album on February 26, 2002. That’s right, the powerhouse band who took the scene by storm released their first record almost twenty years before their newest offering, Voyuerist. Despite such a storied career and releasing some iconic records, Underoath’s Voyuerist is arguably some of the best music of their entire career.
The record was slated to be released in October of 2021, but due to shipping delays across many industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the band decided to push it back until the records could ship. January 14, 2022, Voyeurist was unleashed into the world.
Not Being Erased
Underoath released their first record since reuniting as a band in 2018 entitled Erase Me. For a band with so much hype coming back, much anticipation was had amongst fans for the new record. However, it was received with mixed reviews. Some understood it and loved the record while others put it down and hated it with a passion.
Underoath kept pushing and toured on some of the biggest of their careers with the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Korn, and Alice In Chains. Despite the pushback, their headlining tours on Erase Me were sold out and packed. Enter the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and all touring and basically, everything shut down. The band did what they’ve always done, innovate. They were on the frontier of live-streamed concerts with their live event called Observatory. This event was a massive success generating around $800,000; $266,000 per event, which were three playing They’re Only Chasing Safety, Define The Great Line, and Lost In The Sound Of Separation in full. This gave them the inspiration to create music in the vein of that era while putting a new twist on it.
They Knew We Were Watching
Voyeurist became a project done basically all in-house. No outside producer. No outside writers. Nothing that was done for Erase Me was done for this record. All eyes were on the band once again when it was known they were working on something. For many, it was possibly a make-or-break record for them. They got together and wrote a record they wanted to make and had their longtime tech JJ Revel at the board to handle production duties. The only weakness of the entire album is the mixing and mastering, which lacks the crisp and polished sound fans are used to, but that’s just the bottom of the barrel because everything else is top-notch.
Voyuerist kicks off with the first single released entitled Damn Excuses which shows no apologies and doesn’t let up from start to finish. It was a great way to let everyone know they were back again and not messing around. The second single Hallelujah has a unique twist in some ways echoing back to Its Dangerous Business… off They’re Only Chasing Safety with the choir playing a major part in the song, except this time, it’s front and center as the hook.
The fifth track on the record is in its short time being in the world, an instant fan favorite and easily one of the best of their entire career. Thorn is an emotional roller coaster of sounds and emotions with a subtle verse and drum beat, the pre-chorus then swells with Spencer Chamberlain screaming with powerful force and emotion. The chorus comes in as a very catchy yet emotional moment each time it comes in. The bridge is a glitched drum machine with ambient and spacey keys and Aaron Gillespie delivering the vocals before kicking back into the chorus. There are many reasons why it has hit the fanbase so hard from the sound of the song itself, to the emotion of the song, and to the lyrics.
This record isn’t just top-heavy either, (No Oasis) is an interlude style track that is on-brand for the band going back to Define The Great Line. While this record alludes back to the heavier side of the band, Take A Breath is very along the lines of a song that could’ve been on Erase Me, which isn’t bad at all. It feels like a progression with all of their records on this release. The record concludes with two powerful songs and the emotional closer Pneumonia. We’re All Gonna Die goes back to the catchy elements and on-the-nose lyrics. It’s personally one of the highlights on the album while the follow-up track Numb is another one of those Erase Me-Esque tracks with more of a modern delivery on the verses with a pop-style chorus. Pneumonia is a track that is a movement more so than a song. ?Various pieces and parts come throughout the piece giving some Nirvana-Esque vibes in the first half with Spencer’s moody, grunge style singing. After the chorus, the song progresses into a droney synth interlude as the guitars build and swell into a hauntingly beautiful vocal delivery from Spencer. The song then goes into another interlude styled break as the guitars build heavy and the vocals come back into a heavy screaming delivery to end the song.
Listening, Not Watching
What is the final verdict on Voyuerist? When ranking the songs individually, the album experience, and production, the score came out to an 8.6. Within the genre of the band, it ranks a 10. The total power rating is a 9.3. The record will definitely hold up as the year goes on and possess some of the strongest songs and best of the band’s career.
This is a record that will definitely please most fans of Underoath and will be a constant go-to as the album cycle goes on. The only thing not known is how many of these songs will feel in a room of sweaty people singing and crying along. Songs like Thorn and We’re All Gonna Die will certainly please fans.