Underoath Ė The Changing Of Times
Record Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: February 26 2002
Underoath is one of my all time favorite bands, but I havenít heard their entire discography. Does that make me any less of a fan? I donít think so. I own almost all of their records, except for their first few albums with founding member Dallas Taylor. He was the vocalist for the band in its early years, and left before their big ďbreak,Ē which was in 2004 with the release of Theyíre Only Chasing Safety, featuring vocalist Spencer Chamberlain, who is honestly one of my favorite harsh vocalists. I havenít listened to much of Taylorís time in the band, and for a long time, Iíve seen a copy of Solid State debut record The Changing of Times at my local FYE. I had some extra cash to work with this past weekend, so I finally picked it up, really excited to see what I was going to find. I wasnít too worried that I wouldnít enjoy it, because itís Underoath, and Iíve always loved this band. Iíll admit that I loved their last two records most, because those were the most experimental and ďprogressive,Ē but their earlier records are really solid, too. I also just read quite recently that Solid State is re-releasing the bandís first two EPs (which were no longer in print) on CD with new artwork, so Iím going to pick those up as well. In the meantime, however, The Changing of Times is an impressive record, especially for the time it was released in, which was around 11 years ago when ďpost-hardcoreĒ and ďmetalcoreĒ as we know it today was just starting to form. Bands like Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce the Veil, Memphis May Fire, Motionless In White and plenty of others owe their sound to bands like Underoath, who paved the way for post-hardcore and metalcore to have a bit of a poppier sound to it. While these bands arenít quite original, Underoath formed at a time when it was truly original. Not to mention, their first couple records were also a lot heavier, much more rooted in deathcore and death metal than metalcore and post-hardcore. This record is rather monumental, because it introduced keyboardist Chris Dudley, who added a softer atmosphere to the bandís sound. Thatís why this record is so interesting, because it was ultimately the record that helped them to get where they are. Theyíre Only Chasing Safety propelled them into further popularity, but The Changing of Times was the first stepping stone.
It shouldnít be a surprise that I really donít like this record as much as their later ones, even though itís still quite impressive and enjoyable. There are just things that irk me about this record, but thatís mainly because they were still a young band, so they were trying to find their ďsound.Ē The gripes I have are ultimately forgivable, but I donít like this record as, say, Lost In the Sound of Separation, which is actually my favorite Underoath record, and the first one I ever listened to. The main thing that bugs me is vocalist Dallas Taylor. Honestly, I donít know if itís that the production quality isnít too great, but his vocals really irritate me. He literally doesnít do anything but screech on the record. If you like these kinds of vocals, thatís fine, but he doesnít do ANYTHING else. I donít really care for his vocals much, at least in this record. I do like the fact that drummer Aaron Gillespie does contribute clean vocals throughout the record, albeit itís not much. The instrumentation itself isnít half bad, actually. Itís not perfect, but itís not bad, either. Opening track ďWhile the Sun SleepsĒ basically shows off what this record consists of, which is mainly a mix between very aggressive post-hardcore/metalcore and some quite melodic moments, with some orchestral instrumentation mixed in. Itís just that Taylorís vocals absolutely bother me. It doesnít hinder the whole record, but I donít have much to say about it, because thereís not too much thatís truly memorable here. This was before Underoath really changed the game with Theyíre Only Chasing Safety. Whether they changed it in a good way or bad way, thatís a matter of opinion, but they certainly changed it, nonetheless. This record is a good stepping stone to that point, but after listening to it plenty of times, itís not my favorite Underoath record at all. And why would it? This is a record I got into much after being into the lineup(s) that Iíve known since 2009 or so. Itís not an awful record at all, but for me, Taylorís nonstop screeching doesnít make it better for me. Ultimately, thatís what really keeps me from loving this record. I like it, and I may spin it every so often, but Iíll go with Underoathís last few records instead.
It's a great album. I love everything Underoath has done, and I really can't rank the albums because I adore all of them for different reasons.
Interesting side note: there are some videos on YouTube of early versions of Reinventing Your Exit and Down, Set, Go from They're Only Chasing Safety being performed with Dallas. Different lyrics, but basically identical structure in both cases.