Metalcore as a genre has seen better days; the peak has come and gone, leaving cornerstones in evolution’s wake. From one of the foundational areas for the genre in Massachusetts, Unearth came up during the New Wave of American Heavy Metal alongside other genre-definers like Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, and The Acacia Strain. It wasn’t until the mid-2000’s where those bands really started to hone in on the sound that would come to define metalcore. Of those founding fathers, Unearth was one of the most clearly definable with a sound and heaviness that was uniquely their own.
In 2004, the band released The Oncoming Storm. I still remember hearing it for the first time and thinking how truly ahead of its time it felt. The only thing that went deeper than the melodic hook was the tenacity at which the band played. Despite having a sound that was as large and powerful as an orchestra of metal, the band at the time was just a five-piece, consisting of Trevor Phipps (vocals), Buz McGrath (guitar), Ken Susi (guitar and backing vocals), John Maggard (bass), and Mike Justian (drums). The melodies captured on that record were some of the most beautifully written, exploiting harmonies for every tonal drop they were worth. Every one of the forty-plus minutes on that album served a purpose and it helped to elevate not only them, but this style of music as a whole to a certain level of visibility.
This Saturday (May 31st), in celebration of the album’s ten year anniversary, Unearth will be playing it for the first time, from start to finish at the Montage Music Hall in Rochester. Opening the night will be Texas in July, Cruel Hand, and Armed for Apocalypse. If it wasn’t hinted enough above, these guys defined heaviness for a generation of metal fans and set the bar for their peers. The Oncoming Storm is the band’s legacy and they’re giving fans a chance to witness its significance and weight as a whole.