Last year, Underoath
appeared on Alternative Press
' cover, posed unsmilingly above the phrase "Our future is at stake." The group had just dropped off the 2006 Warped Tour, defaulting on a month's worth of dates. Initially, fans speculated that NOFX's Fat Mike had bullied them off the road by ridiculing the group's Christian beliefs, but the article cited intraband tensions as the culprit. A year later Underoath remains intact, with frontman Spencer Chamberlain and singer/drummer Aaron Gillespie having settled their differences. In fact, the sextet hasn't changed personnel since 2003, an impressive stretch for this high-turnover group (only Gillespie has played on all five full-lengths). Underoath's unscathed reemergence seems especially miraculous, given that 2006's Define the Great Line
sounds like dire catharsis from a heavy band at its breaking point. Live, experimental moments from 2004's They're Only Chasing Safety
(a choir chanting "drowning in my sleep," keyboard-and-click-percussion backdrops) provide sporadic respite from Underoath's relentless careening between air-raid riffs and breakdowns.