Underneath the Gun- Forfeit Misfortunes

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Have you ever listened to a band and felt that the vocalists were holding them back? This is exactly how I felt as I listened to California based Underneath The Gun’s sophomore album, Forfeit Misfortunes. The group, which blends elements of metalcore and deathcore with a little more melody than most released their debut back in 2006 before being signed by Ferret early last year. And while their instrumental arrangements definitely showcase some promise, the vocals need some major work before this band really makes an impact on listeners.

Admittedly Underneath The Gun’s dual vocal attack throughout the course of Forfeit Misfortunes is far from the worst I’ve heard, but both prominent styles sound a little shaky and become grating over time. The band makes use of the standard hardcore/post hardcore screaming and singing and also throws in some heavier screams and very low pitched death growls. However, the major problem with this is that the screaming and singing combination often sounds as though it is causing the vocalist to lose control and go out of pitch. And unlike other vocalists in the genre that are able to sustain some control while sounding chaotic and on the verge of collapse, Underneath The Gun’s main vocalist actually sounds as though he is unable to maintain his screams. It also doesn’t help that the death growls have a really awkward pitch, which end up sounding weaker than they should. I could see this band managing to pull these styles off down the road, but they need some serious work first.

This flaw is a bit unfortunate, because as it turns out Underneath The Gun’s instrumentals are fairly well written and have some interesting ideas. While there are times where the group turns to the familiar chugging breakdowns that metalcore and deathcore are known for, they also have some melodically oriented riffs and grooves that listeners are sure to enjoy. One thing I really like about all of the songs on Forfeit Misfortunes is that they have a ton of energy, and the instrumentals have been mixed/mastered so that they sound as heavy and energetic as possible. I would like to perhaps see some longer solos in the future as the guitarists certainly appear to have the talent needed to pull it off.

Underneath The Gun isn’t terrible, but their vocals need some serious work before many listeners will truly be able to appreciate what they have to offer. The instrumentals do show plenty of promise, so if the band can tighten up their vocals and work on making sure their vocalists stay in tune and don’t lose control of their voice than they could definitely be worth taking note of. But for now, I’d pick a band like Elysia or Impending Doom before going for these guys.

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