Unearth have been going now for just over fifteen years and one of their most significant qualities is their absolutely unrelenting consistency. Once again with Watchers Of Rule (eOne) the band have managed to curate one of the heaviest records you will hear all year long. Thirteen tracks may sound like quite a lot, but at around 40 minutes it truly is a blitzkrieg on your senses. They’re not the kind of band who, with each record, look to reinvent their genre or music, instead as you might expect they provide a shattering dose of chaos in a very Unearth fashion.
Opening track, ‘The Swarm’, was released to the masses slightly before the album release, and quite rightly it instigated a huge wave of anticipation for this record. It blends the absolute fury of intense blast beats and intense riffs with ridiculously savage breakdowns towards the end of the track. There is no time at all though to catch your breath as this pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the record. Since their last album we’re introduced to a new drummer as Nick Pierce takes up the sticks. Fear not though because what a performance! Production wise his kit (and the rest of the band) sounds absolutely spectacular and phenomenally tight. The riffs and the fury just never really let up, and as you get to over half way through the album you’ll become surprised that they’re still able to unleash sections which you just didn’t see coming. Considering that, as we’ve discussed, they’ve never really seemed interested in changing all that much up, their ability to still shock and surprise at every turn says so much about the ability contained within the band.
Front man Trevor Phipps is a bit of an underrated figure in Metal, and with Watchers Of Rule he has once again been able to stamp his authority on everything in his path and deliver a ridiculously passionate performance. Stand out tracks in particular for him include the eccentric ‘From The Tomb Of Five Below’ and the crushing ‘Trail To Fire’.
Overall then this is another beast of an album, and one we can only imagine might end up sneaking its way onto some of those end of year lists right at the very last. If you pick up this album expecting anything but the pummelling riffs, ridiculous drive and anger we all know and love about Unearth then you’ve clicked on the wrong thing.