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Photos: Underoath, Boston, MA

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IMG_7133Coming off a three year hiatus, Underoath is back. Following a few festival appearances and the first half of the Rebirth Tour completed, the band took to a sold out crowd in Boston next to the historic Fenway Park. From the moment I walked in the door, the energy was nothing short of palpable. While the band had not been gone for that long, this reunion was about far more than just the name Underoath. After a record and two singles without him, former drummer Aaron Gillespie rejoined the unit to celebrate the anniversaries of their monumental records They’re Only Chasing Safety and Define the Great Line. While Disambiguation was some of the band’s best work to date, the return of Aaron played out like a fairytale. In 2006, it seemed as if everyone who played drums wanted to be Aaron Gillespie, and now he was back behind the skins with just as much energy as ever.

I myself had seen Underoath twice before, both times without Aaron, and left incredibly impressed after both shows. I entered curious as to how the unit would perform. The short answer would be incredibly well. Vocalist Spencer Chamberlain has kept himself busy during Underoath’s down time, fronting Sleepwave and showing off a more straightforward rock approach. This paid off for him, as his vocals have never sounded stronger. Both his ferocious screams and polished clean vocals helped carry the show.

Since leaving Underoath in 2010, Aaron became the touring drummer for the fantastic alternative band Paramore, as well as releasing music under his long time side project The Almost. From the moment the drums kicked in, his signature high energy approach never relented, carrying the band through songs set opener “Young and Aspiring,” fast-paced classics like “Moving for the Sake of Motion,” and legendary hits like “Writing on the Walls.” Equally impressive was his consistent vocal performance through out the entirety of the 21-song performance which isn’t easy when exerting so much power behind the set.

Keyboard player Chris Dudley‘s incredible presence behind his work station has faded one bit, as he constantly brought the best out of the crowd through his own passion. His love for these songs is apparent in every violent bang of his head and in every note he plays. Guitarists Tim McTague and James Smith seem to be as tight as ever, both providing the energy for what is one of the most cohesive live sets I’ve seen in quite some time. All the while, bassist Grant Brandell kept the rhythm tight, locking down the grooves for two records that meant a great deal to everyone in attendance.

As someone who believed Underoath was at their best in 2013, their performance in Boston proved me wrong. There is a rebirth happening, and the future of Underoath is as bright as ever. Here’s to more tours, more records, and more memories made with one of the most influential metalcore bands the alternative scene has ever had. Long live Underoath.

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Jason Cox

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