UNEARTH etched their name into the annals of hard rock history through unrelenting determination, tireless energy and a catalog of stone cold classics. Two decades into a triumphant career, the Massachusetts-bred New Wave of American Heavy Metal trailblazers are both elder statesmen and newly relevant all over again.
With over a half million albums sold around the globe, UNEARTH’S astounding legacy has never been more self-evident. Festival vets and road warrior renegades, UNEARTH was a standout in a sea of worthy contenders on the final cross-country Warped Tour. Immediately upon its release in 2018, “Incinerate,” the first single from their seventh studio album, shot to Number 1 on SiriusXM Liquid Metal’s “The Devil’s Dozen” and was among the Top 100 most played songs on Amazon Music.
The hunger for new music from UNEARTH was palpable and Extinction(s) delivered in spades. There could be no clearer demonstration of the band’s resilience and the unwavering passion of their worldwide fanbase - a diverse legion of heavy music acolytes who live and breathe the community, culture, and lifestyle UNEARTH represents. Extinction(s) is as much a statement of purpose as a declaration of intent, reigniting the flame of their established strengths and carving a pathway for another two decades of creative accomplishment and inspired live performances.
The album is full of venom toward the wrongs of the world, fighting back against the precarious position civilization is in, determined to effect some kind of change. The inevitability of death, loss, and tragedy is a persistent theme throughout Extinction(s), deep within the band’s most profound and hard-hitting lyrics thus far.
“Incinerate” is a call for unity amidst what has proven to be one of the most polarizing times in history. “Dust” deals with personal demons and the threat of suicide. “Survivalist” is about the strength of hope in the face of a terminal illness. “Cultivation of Infection” is a tirade against the erosion of commonly agreed upon values, the obfuscation of truth and goodness. “The Hunt Begins” is about a dystopian but all too possible future threatened by overpopulation. “Hard Lined Downfall” takes aim at the rhetoric preventing real change with gun violence. “King of the Arctic” tackles the climate crisis. “Sidewinder” cautions against the hatemongering and fear based politics of self-serving “sidewinder” politicians. “No Reprisal” speaks to the power of transition, about closing one door to open another.
“One with the Sun” could be the strongest UNEARTH track ever, which is truly saying something for a band with an unbroken streak of high-quality masterpieces. Urgent intensity bleeds from the song, a call-to-action about the near irreversible damage humankind has done to the planet, a recurring plea heard on every UNEARTH release thus far. The album closer also features the first “clean” vocal passage from frontman Trevor Phipps since “Endless,” which was found on their raw original debut EP. (Guitarist Ken Susi handled cleans on three prior albums.)
Like Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Emperor, or At The Gates before them, UNEARTH arose as part of a new “movement” within heavy metal itself, ushering in a revolution in sound and spirit while maintaining their own unique individuality. The band embodies the working class grit and blue-collar virtue of classic heavy metal, as dirty and grimy as the gloomy industrial area where Black Sabbath first rumbled. At the same time, there’s the do-it-yourself ethos of hardcore punk in their DNA.
Like Pantera and the other greats who’ve inspired them, UNEARTH has defined themselves as a timeless act that defies subcategories, standard bearers for a meat-and-potatoes metal vibe that translates on diverse touring bills and festival lineups.
More than a band, UNEARTH are true collaborators and ambassadors within the genre. Phipps has launched two record labels, often partnered with larger distributors, and other ventures within the community. Fellow cofounder Susi is an accomplished producer who has played in diverse side projects and serves as head of A&R for Fishman pickups, whose endorsement partners include members of Korn, The Decemberists, and Shinedown. Buz McGrath, who completes the trio of original members dating back to 1998 and is one of the most celebrated guitar players in the scene, was tapped by Lamb Of God to fill-in on a summer European tour with Metallica. Both Unearth guitarists have signature models with ESP Guitars.
For album number seven, UNEARTH worked primarily with producer Will Putney, himself an accomplished musician with his own band, Fit For An Autopsy. Putney has quickly amassed an impressive discography that includes albums with Thy Art Is Murder, Body Count, Every Time I Die, Suicide Silence, and The Amity Affliction.
UNEARTH’s celebrated catalog of full-length bangers began with The Stings of Conscience (2001), followed by the genre landmark album The Oncoming Storm (2004), records that established them as luminaries alongside peers and contemporaries in bands like Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage, and As I Lay Dying. III: In the Eyes of Fire (2006) further established UNEARTH as an influential force. Boundary pushing opus The March (2008) includes “My Will Be Done,” which became their most streamed and most viewed song/video on all major platforms.
UNEARTH spread their message of musical integrity and personal responsibility on several tours, including Ozzfest, Rockstar Mayhem, Europe’s Never Say Die, Metal Hammer’s Defenders of the Faith, Australia’s Soundwave, Europe’s Persistence Tour, Sounds Of The Underground, and MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball: The Tour, as well as multiple headlining runs. Along the way, they shared stages with iconic acts like Slipknot and Slayer, while appearing at festivals like Wacken, Loud Park, Download, Graspop, Heavy MTL, and Hammersonic.
Much of that live energy was captured on the Alive from the Apocalypse DVD (2008), which went gold in Canada and debuted at #13 in the US. Even as the constraints of commercial changes and subcultural trends closed in on many bands, UNEARTH persevered, starting a new chapter with the well-received Darkness in the Light (2011), which broke into Billboard’s Hard Rock Top 10. Watchers of Rule (2014) further cemented their legacy. They’ve worked with a who’s-who of genre producers, including Terry Date (Pantera, Deftones, Soundgarden), Mark Lewis (The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel) and their good friend Adam Dutkiewicz (August Burns Red, Underoath, A Day To Remember), who tracked drums for Extinction(s).
They’ve prevailed against changing trends, fashions and the way music is obtained and distributed with their credibility, integrity and unique persona intact. There is no sellout and no letdown for UNEARTH’s dedicated fans on the horizon. Unearth will always maintain and proclaim their allegiance to the ethos and the community of heavy metal, both now and forever.