Written by: PP on 21/02/2022 22:23:55

"Voyeurist" is the ninth studio album by screamo veterans Underoath, and only their second one following a lengthy hiatus during the 2010s. Their comeback album "Erase Me" largely failed to fulfill expectations left behind by a long career of pushing the screamo envelope despite the return of Aaron Gillespie on drums and clean vocals, but that is fortunately not the case here.

On "Voyeurist", Underoath continues to explore monumental soundscapes with dramatic, echoing electronics that allow both Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie's clean/scream dynamic to shine. A song like "Hallelujah" features soaring soundscapes and showcases a reinvigorated desire for experimentalist song structures. It's a haunting track that sounds as if it was performed in a monastery of sorts, and much like the lingering horror-themed melodies of "I'm Pretty Sure I'm Out Of Luck And Have No Friends", it is a great example of just how far Underoath have strayed from their sound on "They're Only Chasing Safety" or "Define The Great Line" over the years.

As such, your opinion on "Voyeurist" is going to be swayed by the degree you believe screamo should continue to innovate. Even the scream-heavy tracks like "Cycle" are plays on electronics and expansive soundscapes, meaning there are few classical breakdowns or throat-wrenching segments of raw passion unfolding from Chamberlain's screams. Instead, Underoath utilizes semi-clean vocals on tracks like "Thorn" and contrasts these with roughened screams to an extent where the sound is more akin to modern post-hardcore bands rather than the screamo scene they originate from.

The production of "Voyeurist" is humongous just like their past few records. Theatrical arrangements feature electronics that splash in between crushing riffs and clean/scream dynamics, but never to an extent where the record would feel overproduced or artificially inflated.

That said, the degree of experimentation and a lack of conventional songwriting means that the record is difficult to absorb. Tracks like "We're All Gonna Die" stand out because of their comparative simplicity, where others float loftily around, leaving behind an impressive sound but not necessarily one that induces repeat listening desires. At the end of the day, "Voyeurist" feels like a record written by artists in the truest sense of the word: to explore the breadth of their musical talent and to write music as an art form. But for simpler-minded fans like yours truly, some catchy wraaaghs with supporting cleans appear to be much to ask for.


Download: Hallelujah, We're All Gonna Die, Thorn, Cycle
For the fans of: Bring Me The Horizon; The Devil Wears Prada; Oh, Sleeper
Listen: Facebook

Release date 14.01.2022
Fearless Records

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