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UNDEROATH Band mixes Christian values, hard-core sound



Published: Sat, April 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The band is looking ahead to its next studio release, due out next year.

No matter what the genre, if the term Christian precedes the description of a band, that outfit has a lot of explaining to do with its peers, the press and its fans. That is, everyone wants to know what it's like to be a Christian hard-core band.

For the members of Underoath, who play in Cleveland on Thursday, it's not a stretch to reconcile their religious beliefs with their hard sound.

"No, not really," said Underoath bassist Grant Brandell, calling from San Jose, Calif. "For us, the Christianity aspect comes first and then the band. So, it's who we are. It's all about respect. You may not agree with what other people stand for or whatever, but you respect them for their beliefs and that's what they choose to believe in. They respect you."

Respect among peers and fans is one thing but deference from parents of Underoath fans may be something else. Oftentimes the inherent incongruity of loud guitars and screaming vocals proves insurmountable for the older Christian set who can't separate the style from the message.

"I think if you can just listen to the record and enjoy the music, we don't really cuss or sing about negative stuff, you actually get in depth of what the band is actually about," Brandell said. "We're definitely a Christian band."

Drawing comparisons

After first emerging on the metalcore scene a few years back with its debut "The Changing of Times," the Florida-based act forged ahead without original vocalist Dallas Taylor who left on good terms before the band recorded its 2004 follow-up "They're Only Chasing Safety."

While lumped into the current emo trend, Underoath often draws comparisons to many of its peers, which for an up-and-coming band isn't necessarily the worst thing that can happen. More so, the sextet's timing couldn't be better.

"Definitely, I'll turn the radio on and I'll hear like Thursday or The Used or anything like that," Brandell said. "It kind of has the same feel as we do. And yeah, it's awesome. I don't think it's a bad thing to be compared to other bands, I just think you can't focus on it. I think it's a compliment when someone says you guys sound like Taking Back Sunday, whether they are saying they hate that band or not, to me that's a good band and they play good music and that's cool."

On the road

Having just come off the traveling "Taste of Chaos" festival of bands, the group is now mounting a headlining tour of its own, with hopes its supporting duties for The Used and My Chemical Romance caught the ear of like-minded fans.

Already the band is looking ahead to its next studio release, due out sometime next year. With roughly half a dozen new tracks written, including an untitled song that is currently getting stage time, Brandell characterizes the band's new material as harder but not hard-core, with the musicality playing an important role.

"We want people to understand that it's not like such a black and white thing," Brendall said. "Our big thing is what we believe, the way that we see things, we go through the same issues that people who don't believe do. It's just like our perspective on it is through Christianity."




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