New Creative Terrain : Underoath push their limits with Voyeurist
More than two decades steeped in the game and a catalog of contributions some nine full length albums deep, Underoath have long established their stronghold in the world of aggressive art. What manages to be especially impressive, apart from the band's longevity, is their ability to remain ahead of the curve from a creative standpoint.
Further evidenced by the impact of their ninth, and arguably their most ambitious collection of songs to date, Voyeurist bears with it the added significance of not only expanding on their brand of 'hi-def violence' but also being an album that is completely their own. From concept to execution, Voyeurist is a statement album, recorded and produced entirely by Underoath.
Packaging the release of the album with an added emphasis on the visual companion, Underoath added layers to their overall vision for Voyeurist with their game-changing streaming event in Digital Ghost. Equal parts release event, album preview, and streaming concert, the performance served as a modernized take on the music video - a sensory immersion that pulled fans into the depths of the band's creative core and transformed an album into a complete experience.
For as pivotal as Voyeurist looks to be, the angle that seems especially compelling is how personally profound the album is just the same. Recorded during a time of personal loss and even greater social uncertainty, the album's volatility and vehemence seems to capture the genuine catharsis of not only the band, but the fans that are eagerly consuming the creative byproduct.
What is undoubtedly certain on Voyeurist is that Underoath pulled no punches. Embracing their early explosiveness, their evolved prowess as songwriters and even injecting some spectacle, like a rare feature from genre-bending sensation Ghostemane, the album is far from nostalgic. In fact, Underoath, despite their tenure, epitomize progression in a way that few bands achieve and most bands never even conceptualize.
To further explore the kind of mindset that resulted in one of the most anticipated albums of early 2022, the band's guitarist and creative lead for the recording and production process in Tim McTague, dissected the album track-by-track. Going through each song in succession, McTague offers a concise recollection of what made each song stick, why the song made the cut, and how each track achieved what Voyeurist was always intended to do - usher in the next era of Underoath.
Damn Excuses – This song is rad because we just went for it. It’s got the guts of older UO songs with a lot more grit.
Hallelujah – This song rules because we got all our homies to do the choir downstairs from the studio. We had a really intense night and a lot was shared personally by some of the guys that came out and it was very therapeutic.
Out of Luck – What a trip. Just sitting in a pocket with a weird poly rhythm for an extended period of time and then opening up to just massive guitar stabs. Classic UO jam with a twist.
Cycle – Our first feature since 2004. We don’t do a lot of features and having Eric, who turned out to be a fan of the band prior, collab with us was so sick. Also the only chorus we have ever had with not one sung portion rules. It’s all gas no brakes.
Thorn – This song is fully built off of an idea Chris had and we just build around it. The Chorus coming out of ¾ to 4/4 has this really cool pull back that puts you in a totally different pocket.
No Oasis – This was fully an experiment that we just let go. The drums are intentionally hard edited with no healing for the verses and the vocals sound broken in a cool way. Definitely sets up Take a Breath well too.
Take a Breath – The riff on the chorus I had written before Erase Me. We would jam it at soundcheck and I always wanted to find a place for it. I never thought it would be the A section of a chorus but I like that it did. I think the bridge is one of the coolest parts on the record too, we would normally scream over something like that but instead we kept it all instrumental and it turned out awesome.
We’re All Gonna Die – This song is so interesting because it didn’t really change much from the original demo. I wrote this song in the back lounge of our bus during the Erase Me cycle, and aside from the verses, it is almost identical. Also one of the most tough choruses to listen to lyrically.
Numb – This feels like a classic Chasing Safety song done with adult minds and ideas. It’s the only chorus on the whole album that is just Aaron singing, which is a massive part of our DNA as a band in the beginning and it’s rad to hear it come full circle.
Pneumonia- This song is wild. We started writing the song, randomly, on the anniversary of my dad’s death. I was in a funk and wanted to make something sad but felt drained. The song ended up becoming an audible journey of death and is called Pneumonia because that is what my dad’s death certificate had is COD listed as. It’s also the only song in the history of UO that Spencer and Aaron sat someone down and asked them (me) to help write some of the lyrics which was truly an honor.
Voyuerist arrives January 14th via Fearless Records. Order the album - HERE