Released: 2008, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
In an off-handed, fuck-you-very-much kind of way, metalcore’s most vocal critics will often cite Unearth as the best of the bunch and love ‘em or hate ‘em, Unearth are among the very best of metalcore’s ever-growing stable of artists. Less melodic than Killswitch Engage and less thrashy than Shadows Fall, Unearth lies somewhere in the middle with bands like God Forbid, delivering growled vocals and sweetly-tuned guitar leads wrapped up in an aggressive, moshpit-ready veneer. On the band’s first-ever DVD release, ALIVE FROM THE APOCALYPSE, Unearth gives its fans everything they could ever want. Much like Killswitch Engage’s (SET THIS) WORLD ABLAZE, a full set is the main feature however an extensive documentary is also included along with all of the band’s music videos and several other live clips. In celebration of their tenth anniversary, Unearth has clearly rolled out the red carpet and given its fans a DVD package that will be cherished.
The first disc features a full, 45-minute show from October 2007 at The Glasshouse in Pomona, California. Bucking the trend of filming a hometown show, the Massachusetts-based Unearth is treated to a rabid, hungry crowd that is not afraid to get sweaty or mix it up. Despite having three full-length albums under their belt, Unearth still sticks to a short but sharp set and the band is incredibly tight here. The shenanigans of guitarist Ken Susi are endless and Susi and his fellow axeman, Buz McGrath, play off each other perfectly. Powered by its infectious riff, “The Great Dividers” soldiers on and the ear-pleasing solos by Susi and McGrath during “This Glorious Nightmare” is a treat to see and hear. Seemless’ Derek Kerswill is still a “fill-in” for Mike Justian who abruptly left the band last spring but you’d never know it by his performance. Frontman Trevor Phipps is charismatic and for “March of The Mutes” and “Black Hearts Now Reign,” his command of the crowd is impressive.
Disc Two features one of the best band documentaries in recent memory, following the aforementioned one from Killswitch Engage. Vintage footage from the mid-nineties shows McGrath with a short, mushroom hairstyle and Phipps with a buzzcut. Interwoven with soundbytes from members of Slipknot, All That Remains, Terror, Lamb of God, Chimaira and As I Lay Dying, just to name a few, the band members cover the highs and lows of the past decade, touching everything that made Unearth what it is today. Seven of the band’s music videos are included, as well as a photo gallery and some extra live footage.
When I interviewed Trevor Phipps last October, the band was still working on piecing together ALIVE FROM THE APOCALYPSE, but Phipps did say “this is our first real [DVD], so we’re trying to do it right.” Rest assured that Unearth has stuck to its word because there really is nothing else that could have been included here. Some might argue that a longer set should have been played and, in truth, 45 minutes is a bit light for a band of Unearth’s stature but the band has left fans wanting more and that is always a good thing rather than overstaying one’s welcome. With its breadth and quality of content, ALIVE FROM THE APOCALYPSE will put a permanent smile on the face of any Unearth fan.