I love this project already.
Yesterday, it started with an album I’d never listened to the whole way through. Today is an album I’ve listened the whole way through more times than I can count.
The band Underoath is synonymous with Christian metalcore, and unquestionably the most popular band to come out of the genre.
They’re Only Chasing Safety (2004) is an important record for both heavy Christian and metalcore music alike. It turned the corner and gave credence and legitimacy to the rapidly developing genre.
I’ve already written about the Tooth & Nail/Solid State roster from that period of time, and man- that era just made me truly excited about music.
TOCS features several of those songs that, as a listener of this particular genre of music, you couldn’t escape: “A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White” and “Reinventing Your Exit” and “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door” and “Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape.”
End-to-end, TOCS is a cornerstone. It’s wild to me that this album is almost a decade old, because for almost ten years, it has inspired and influenced countless copycat bands across the country. Some of them were actually good, too (but mostly not).
Living in the south, and as of three years ago living in the same town where the band is based, I feel a special connection to this album. Like it was for many people, TOCS was released at a pivotal time in my life. In 2004, I was 17. I had never been introduced to Christian “punk” music and frankly thought it was a total farce. How could a Christian be punk?
After hearing TOCS for the first time, the floodgates were opened to bands like He is Legend, Norma Jean, The Chariot, Showbread, mewithoutYou and countless others. The type of music I listened to then had a direct influence on who I was, which has shaped who I am today. I can assure you, reader, that I am not speaking in hyperbole when I say that the value of this record to the genre cannot be underestimated or overstated.
As of this writing, Underoath’s final show is set for the 26th of this month. With several of the band members now married with children, and with how grueling it is to be in such an abrasive band (playing live shows, writing new records), it’s tough to imagine that there will be any more chapters to write in the group’s career.
Standout tracks: “Down, Set, Go” and “I’m Content With Losing”
Weakest song: Not sure there is one, but I was never big on “Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape” – it’s an unpopular opinion, I know.
RIYL: Metalcore, hardcore. Haste the Day, No Sir-era Showbread, He is Legend. Early-to-mid 2000s-era Tooth & Nail/Haste the Day. Cornerstone Festival.