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Acts of Depression
Artist: Underoath
Label: Takehold Records
Time: 7 tracks at 56:39 minutes

Underoath comes out of the chute with a five minute fifty second cut called "Heart of Stone," and that is the shortest song on the CD! There are two tracks over ten minutes long. This Florida band takes some pride in the length of their songs, but what should impress their fans is they pull off these long songs with impressive musicianship and interesting musical themes. Mixing heavy metal, grindcore and black metal, Underoath gnaws and screams through six listed tunes (and one hidden track that is part poem/sermonette/testimony and part acoustic rock and praise).

The statement of purpose on the CD sleeve clued me in that the music and the band are a ministry, since it claims that the sole purpose of the record is to let you know that you are free by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The actual songs are not that evangelistic, however. The tunes range in subject from praise, encouragement, and testimony, to abortion and rape. The title song is about suicide. 

The music is well crafted, and executed very nicely. Double bass and pounding drums, played by Aaron, accompany some moving bass lines from Octavio, that drive the underside. Corey's sometimes fast, sometimes crunching guitar sound, underscoring Dallas's screams of passion and growls of rage, make Underoath's sound as intense as it is. On the record, Dallas' vocals are mostly dual-tracked, giving the band a fatter, stronger death metal sound.

Black metal/hardcore fans look for Underoath. You won't be sorry. I promise. Under oath.

Tony LaFianza 10/26/99

First things first this is not a bad album. Act of Depression starts out with the track "Heart of Stone," which begins with a rather nice groove, although it quickly dissolves into a sludgy mess. Indeed, such moments characterize the disc, leading one to think that band does have a considerable amount of talent; unfortunately, the listener gets only glimpses of such talent. The rhythm section, while not exactly remarkable, flashes some interesting solos; they definitely pull their weight on the disc. Similarly, the guitarist, apparently of the "strum as fast as you can" school of musicianship, displays some nice melodic bits that help to distinguish the band from other hardcore bands out there. The vocals, however, are where things start to go awry. Underoath is advertised as a mix between hardcore and black metal; the vocalist apparently supplies the black metal part. "Sung" with a high-pitch yowl, the vocals, while unfortunately considered the norm in Christian hardcore, fall just short of abysmal. It's hard to understand why vocals of this style are so prevalent in this genre...no passion is conveyed in the delivery, and it just sounds painful. The lyrics themselves are nothing new to the scene; "Heart of Stone" talks about pain of living without Jesus, while "A Love So Pure" talks about the joy of living with Jesus. There's also an "issues" song (Overcome had one about pornography, Strongarm about abortion, and Unashamed about substance abuse) called "Innocence Stolen" about the agony caused by rape and child molestation. It would be interesting to see where this band goes with their next release, but this one, while it has it's moments, isn't all that great.

Glenn Harper 11/27/99


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