When it was announced that Aaron Gillespie and Underoath had parted ways, I was probably one of the few who was actually excited about the news. Don’t get me wrong, I love Gillespie’s work on the past two Underoath albums But the idea of little no no singing on an Underoath album excited me. Then when it was announced that Daniel Davison, formerly of Norma Jean, would be replacing Aaron in the band, I was sold and really excited to hear new music from the band.
First things first, Underoath is just fine without Aaron. Spencer’s clean vocals really sound similar to Aaron’s and it makes you wonder how much of the clean vocals in the past Aaron really was responsible for. Davison’s drumming is solid and never misses a beat. It fits in perfectly with Underoath and the band is no worse off without Gillespie in the band.
As for the actual album… I feel like if Disambiguation had been released in May and I had been listening to it since then it would be one of my favorite albums of the year (Like the Haste the Day record). But it didn’t come in May and so it’s not one of my favorite albums. Without Aaron there’s actually more clean singing on this record. And while it is the darkest record Underoath has put out with SPencer on vocals, it’s not an overly heavy record.
The album first two tracks are the strongest on the whole record. The first single, In Division, really just sounds like a darker Underoath. Davison brings a distinctly different drumming style to the band that isn’t lost on me. Catch Myself Catching Myself has a really great hook. It’s a track that ebbs and flows without getting boring. From being super heavy and aggressive, to a really simple quiet middle, crescendoing to an end.
Disambiguation never flattens out and seems to always keep you guessing… Or so you think. Paper Lung takes it’s time building to a crashing end which leads right into Illuminator, a fast driving verse, into a drum laden hook. Driftwood brings things back down. It’s a simple electronic piece that feels more like filler then an actual song. Then back into another heavy song with A Divine Eradication. While Who Will Guard the Guardians is a nice change of pace track in a similar vain to Catch Myself Catching Myself, after another instrumental interlude, we get back into these faux circle pit type songs. Which is kind of why Lost in The Sound of Separation suffered. If just feels like too much of trying to be do and be something different for the sake of changing your sound and not sticking with what is working best for you. The album sputters to a close with In Completion, a nice song, but nothing great.
While there a a handful of absolutely great moments on this record, it doesn’t as a whole hold up as well as I had hoped. Fans worried that the band will sound completely different on this album shouldn’t worry. It follows more in the same direction that Lost in the Sound of Separation was headed, only this record does carry darker undertones. It’s a good record and I’m glad I got it. In a couple months, I might be head over heels in love with Disambiguation. Today… It’s not one of my favorite album released this year.