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  The Changing of Times
Artist: Underoath
Label: Solid State Records
Length: 10 tracks/35:50

The latest metal-core starts off with a truly unique twist--synthesizers. The addition of a full time keyboard player to the Underoath lineup provides a breath of fresh air to a style that is slowly becoming redundant. When a band decides to write good quality music, the results can be thoroughly enjoyable. That takes a lot of effort, and if a band is willing to put forth that effort, it pays off big time. The pop undertones of this disc hooked me every bit as much as the screaming did. A song such as "When the Sun Sleeps" is much more focused on elements of melody and rhythm rather than just tearing your head off with sound. Only two tracks later, "A Message For Adrienne" dispels any misgivings that the band has gone soft. Nearly the entire song pounds the head with that metal trademark of double bass drumming and distortion.

There is an element of emo thrown in for good measure, mostly in the "clean" vocals and the titles of the songs, but not enough of an element to be unlikable. The way these Florida boys put together a plateful of hardcore is enough to make a lot of mouths water. If you are any kind of hardcore fan, do yourself a favor and buy this album. You won't regret it. 

Duncann Tripp 3/17/2002

Pledging to make a record only to satisfy themselves (and not any one musical scene), Underoath has put out The Changing of Times, a record that serves metalcore and punk, but fails to put a spike on the delivery. The Changing of Times has many of the ingredients needed for an excellent album, but it doesn’t quite crystallize into something compelling.

Underoath takes an armload of fairly standard riffs and some decent hooks and merges them into songs that display an appealing knack for melody. The welcome addition of a keyboard adds depth and color to the songs. Overlaying this musical background is Dallas Taylor’s abrasively enjoyable vocals, screaming with punk-indebted energy and playing off an occasional spoken line or two.

Lyrically, it’s theme--I can’t believe things ended up the way they have, yet I hold out a glimmer of hope based on the way things were and/or the way they can be in the future--and variations. Despite this relative consistency, there are several well-crafted lyrical moments. “A Message for Adrienne” reminds, “Time favors no one and if we wait,/We too can fall in love/A second too late.” On the flip side, “Short of Daybreak” promises, “For love may be a day,/I can’t say/But tomorrow awaits,/Bringing me closer to you.”

Even with all these solid components, The Changing of Times never really quite comes together. The solid lyrical ideas, cleverly delivered melodies and sometimes engaging vocal mannerisms remain curiously disconnected: fragments of a good story that haven’t quite made it onto the same page. A bit of variety wouldn’t hurt either. Most tracks come across in the same manner and at the same intensity level.

Still, this is not a trite record. It demands that the listener look, listen and carefully consider. But it can leave the listener wishing it would come together a bit more often. This album needs a bit more of the crisp synergy that makes album-opener “When the Sun Sleeps” such a powerful punch, and less of the occasional disconnectedness or monotony that allows the scheme to wear thin by the end.

Megan Lenz 4/14/2002



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