Long considered titans of the metalcore genre, Unearth have readily made a number of mosh pit battle anthems in the past that have cemented them as a scene fixture. It's become apparent however with recent albums that the group have aspirations to move in a more traditional metal direction and with "The March", they have officially embarked on their journey. Packing a beefed up technical repertoire and more dimensions to their songwriting as supplies, they make considerable headway by the time this outing concludes.
Still, that's not to say they were fully prepared for what they have undertaken here though. For every ripping metallic flourish there is still a familiar chugga breakdown and sans perhaps the Cave In-like harmonic manipulation on "Letting Go", little here is entirely out of the bands element. But with a focus cast on stronger songwriting, less metalcore conventions and a lot more guitar heroics, this is a well-executed transition and much needed directional shift for the band.
Unfortunately though, that in itself is also one of this album's biggest pitfalls. The group are clearly expanding and experimenting, but none of what they offer necessarily shocks or inspires. Instead the improvement feels more gradual and is often curtailed by a lot of the songs sounding similar as a whole, lacking in any stark dynamic contrast.
Don't be fooled though, much with any grueling exercise in experimentation and growth, there is much to be gained here and Unearth's thunderously staccato grooves remain empowering and cathartic. In fact, few bands can command such an equally bludgeoning and lacerating performance in the same breath. It's just that "The March" is sometimes a step ahead and at others a step behind.
(3.5 / 5)