Underoath is an American metalcore band from Tampa, Florida, formed in 1997. Founded by Dallas Taylor on November 30, 1997 in Ocala, Florida, but since then, the new members that joined were from Tampa, Florida. The band's line-up consists entirely of Christian members. They are currently signed with Solid State Records, a subsidiary of Tooth and Nail Records, and are the label's most popular group.
After several line-up changes, Underoath's only original member is drummer Aaron Gillespie. With original vocalist Dallas Taylor, they released Act of Depression, Cries of the Past, and The Changing of Times. Following his departure, Spencer Chamberlain became lead vocalist. The band then released They're Only Chasing Safety and Define the Great Line, gaining a certified gold rating and the highest-charting Christian album on The Billboard 200 since 1997, respectively. These two albums have given them more mainstream and commercial success.
They received a Grammy nomination in 2007 and have recorded a live CD/DVD album called Survive, Kaleidoscope, which was released on May 27, 2008. From late February to early May the band recorded their latest studio album called Lost in the Sound of Separation, which was released on September 2, 2008, and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard 200.
Formation and Act of Depression (1997 ? 2000)
On November 30, 1997 Underoath formed with Dallas Taylor, and guitarist Luke Morton, in Florida in Ocala, Florida. Morton devised the name Underoath "from somewhere in the Bible." Drummer Aaron Gillespie, who attended Morton's church, was then asked to play with them. Gillespie agreed, and the group recruited guitarist Corey Steger and bassist Octavio Fernandez; the band members were all in high school.
After a year of playing at festivals, eating in Buffets, and touring the area around Florida, Underoath signed to Alabama's Takehold Records in 1999. Around this time Luke Morton had left the band without appearing on any of their formal recordings. They released their debut Act of Depression, which sold over 2,000 copies.
"Act of Depression"
A sample of the song "Act of Depression" the title track from their debut album.
Cries of the Past and The Changing of Times (2000?2003)
In 2000, keyboardist Christopher Dudley joined Underoath, and the five-song, forty-minute long record, Cries of the Past was released, selling over 3,000 copies. Currently, both Act of Depression and Cries of the Past are no longer in print.
In 2001, Takehold Records was bought out by Seattle's Tooth & Nail Records and Underoath was subsequently signed to the label's harder-rock subsidiary, Solid State Records. In January 2002, bassist Grant Brandell joined Underoath. The band then began working on their Solid State debut, The Changing of Times, with Cries of the Past producer James Paul Wisner. The album was released on February 26, 2002 and produced one single titled "When the Sun Sleeps". Taylor explained that the lyrics on The Changing of Times were about "people playing with other people's emotions and how it can leave you bitter" and "struggling through life's hardships and trying to find God in all of it." The band was criticized for the album's style because it had changed from the sound of their previous releases, falling into the general hardcore genre. Though the change in style caused some long-time fans of the band to criticize the album, The Changing of Times went on to outsell both of their earlier releases combined. In 2003, Underoath supported the album's release on their first Vans Warped Tour, however their participation in the tour came to an end when Taylor, under controversial conditions, was asked to leave the band. According to Underoath's keyboardist, Chris Dudley, Taylor could no longer tour with Underoath for various reasons and left on his own decision. Under speculation of a potential break up, the band then went on a supporting tour with Atreyu in August 2003 with Matt Tarpey of Winter Solstice as the temporary vocalist. In October 2003, at the CMJ Fest in New York City, the band reappeared with Spencer Chamberlain, formerly of the band This Runs Through, as the new lead vocalist. Chamberlain had toured with Underoath when fronting his former band and at one time was roommates with Dudley; their previous friendship with Chamberlain was considered when making him lead vocalist. Gillespie explained that before Chamberlain had been in the band, the group members "didn?t really get along", however, after Chamberlain joined "everything was just normal, we clicked". After Chamberlain became a permanent member, Underoath discussed the possibility of changing the name and becoming a new band. Ultimately, the members decided to remain as Underoath.
They're Only Chasing Safety (2004?2005)
After taking the end of 2003 off from touring to begin working on an album, the band scheduled time in February 2004 to begin recording. During the early months of 2004, Underoath returned to the studio with Chamberlain as lead vocalist and producer James Paul Wisner. They're Only Chasing Safety was released on June 15, 2004 and proved to be a more commercial success for the band, going on to outsell the previous three albums combined. The album sold close to 100,000 copies in its first week of release and was certified gold by the end of 2005 selling more than 487,000 copies. With Gillespie being the only original member, They're Only Chasing Safety had been a vast change from their metal roots. "Reinventing Your Exit" and "It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door" were released as the album's singles and both songs spawned music videos that received airplay on MTV2 and Fuse. In March 2005, Underoath participated in the inaugural Taste of Chaos tour, and shortly after, embarked on their first headlining tour. The band premiered two brand-new songs during the length of the tour. They played a part of the Warped Tour, but declined to perform for the entirety of the tour in order to take time to record another album. Underoath made their first cover of Alternative Press magazine with the September 2005 issue, and in October, They're Only Chasing Safety was re-released in a two-disc set with four formerly unreleased songs. Also included was new artwork by Jacob Bannon of the band Converge, and a DVD with over two hours of footage of the band touring in support of the album. As of 2005, They're Only Chasing Safety has sold more than 218,000 copies, with the re-release selling an additional 279,000 copies, making a combined sales of more than 500,000 copies in the US alone..
Define the Great Line (2006?2007)
Timothy McTague and Spencer Chamberlain performing at 2006's Warped Tour in San Diego, California.
In January 2006, Underoath entered the studio to record their fifth album release, which would come to be titled Define the Great Line; named so because "you just have to find that line and that way to live your life". The band had been writing for the album two weeks after the release of They're Only Chasing Safety. Matt Goldman, who produced albums for Copeland and Norma Jean, and Adam Dutkiewicz, guitarist for Killswitch Engage, enlisted as producers. Chamberlain noted that the vocals for the album would sound less like an imitation of former vocalist Taylor, but more like the vocals of Chamberlain's former band. The lyrics were also meaningful to Chamberlain because they had been written about "things that have molded him into who he is today". An unfinished version of the album was leaked onto BitTorrent websites and P2P services months before the release date. Gillespie, during the short time after the recording of Define the Great Line, recorded a side project with Seattle producer Aaron Sprinkle under the name of The Almost, which subsequently signed to Tooth & Nail and released its first record, Southern Weather on April 3, 2007. In April 2006, the band had been courted by several major record labels, instead re-signing with Tooth & Nail Records because they felt that major labels "don't get heavy bands" and "we don't really agree with a lot of the business practices major labels employ sometimes." On April 21, Underoath flew to Sweden to work with Popcore Films, and film music videos for "In Regards to Myself" and "Writing on the Walls"; the latter was chosen as the lead single for the album and was later nominated for the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. Dudley commented that the videos were "high-energy videos and more intricate than any video we've ever done."
Released on June 20, 2006, Define the Great Line sold 98,000 copies in its first week and debuted on the Billboard 200 Chart at number 2, the highest debut for a Christian album since 1997. With the debut of Define the Great Line, Underoath simultaneously released a special edition version of the album featuring special artwork and a DVD that includes another behind-the-scenes movie and a "making of" video. Define the Great Line was certified Gold by the RIAA on November 11, 2006, representing 500,000 shipped units of the album.
The band was scheduled to spend June and July 2006 on the main stage of the Warped Tour, but on July 28, 2006, it was announced that Underoath was dropping off the remaining dates of the tour. A statement from the band stated that the members "felt it necessary to take some immediate time to focus on our friendship, as that?s more important than risking it for the sake of touring at this time." In an Alternative Press cover story on Underoath, Burkett told the magazine that Chamberlain had confided in him that Underoath's band members had been "having a lot of arguments over their religious beliefs." Michael "Fat Mike" Burkett admitted to Punknews.org that he had poked fun at the band for their beliefs, but emphasized that he befriended Underoath's band members at the start of the tour and had a personal policy of not making jokes on-stage about anyone he was not friends with or did not like personally. It was also spread that the band's withdrawal from the tour was due to Chamberlain's rumored drug problems and time spent in rehabilitation, to which Gillespie responded, "If there was something serious going on like that and he was in rehab, we'd have to tell the press. But it's just not true." Underoath toured extensively throughout Europe, Australia, and Asia in the late 2006, from February to April in 2007 toured with Taking Back Sunday and Armor for Sleep.
Underoath shot videos for the songs "You're Ever So Inviting" and "A Moment Suspended in Time" in February 2007; both videos have been released and "You're Ever So Inviting" won MTV's Battle of the Videos on May 23, 2007. Underoath performed a Canadian tour followed by the Taste of Chaos World Tour, and also played at the 2007 Cornerstone Festival. On July 17, 2007 Underoath released a DVD entitled 777 to the US market. Underoath also played the Warped Tour 2007 from July 24 to August 9, and in August 2007, toured Australia and East Asia. During a tour with Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Poison the Well, and Every Time I Die, Gillespie went through emergency surgery on an infection in his hand. Instead of cancelling shows, Underoath recruited Kenny Bozich, the drummer of Gillespie's band, The Almost. Underoath lead vocalist Spencer Chamberlain was featured on the cover of the Warped Tour 2008 Tour Compilation album.
Survive, Kaleidoscope and Lost in the Sound of Separation (2008 onward)
During the September 2007 tour, Chamberlain stated various times that the band will release a new album in mid 2008. It was later confirmed that it would be released on September 2, 2008. Recording for the album began in March 2008 and ended in April 2008. McTague said that the album, Lost in the Sound of Separation, would be considerably heavier than Define the Great Line.
In October 2007, Underoath had begun filming their third person documentary Survive, Kaleidoscope. "The Audible Diversion Group", a small film team, shot footage of the band as they followed Underoath on their September tour and the entirety of the "We Believe in Dino-Tours". The film was shot in 720p high definition 16:9 widescreen format. Underoath released the Survive, Kaleidoscope live CD/DVD on May 27, 2008. The album reached #81 on the Billboard 200. The band recorded the concert footage at a performance in Philadelphia at the Electric Factory in October 2007.
During mid-2008, Underoath joined the 30-city Rockstar Energy Mayhem Tour with bands such as Slipknot, Disturbed, Mastodon, and DragonForce. The tour began on July 9, 2008, and concluded in Buffalo, New York on August 19, with Underoath headlining the tour's stop at the Hot Topic venue. After the release of Lost in the Sound of Separation on September 2, 2008, Underoath began headlining tour in support of the album, along with Saosin and The Devil Wears Prada, and in various markets, P.O.S., person L, and The Famine.
In its first week, Lost in the Sound of Separation debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling around 56,000 copies in the US alone. The band then later made a video for the song on the new album "Desperate Times, Desperate Measures". In December 2008 they embarked on their first South American Tour. The band played six concerts in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia.
Underoath played on the Warped Tour 2009.
On recent international tours in 2009, Underoath has been writing pieces of new songs. However, they are only in the beginning stages and nothing has been mentioned thus far in regards to recording dates.
Musical style and influences
Bassist Grant Brandell has explained that Underoath's music has been influenced by various bands such as Refused, At the Drive-In, Apple Not Asteroid, Jimmy Eat World, Isis and Radiohead. Underoath's members are openly Christian and have stated on numerous occasions that they are a Christian band. However, as vocalist Spencer Chamberlain explains, " in a different way. We?re not like your average Christian band." He further explains that Christianity is the "backbone of our lives, especially in the way that we handle certain things, but it?s not so much the backbone of our lyrics. It?s not like every song is a lesson from the Bible or something. It?s just normal life struggles." Keyboardist Christopher Dudley had also stated that a majority of Underoath's audience is not Christian, nor are the bands they would often tour with. Though the band has been noted for "setting precedent in both Christian rock and beyond", only a portion of their albums are sold in the Christian marketplace. Chamberlain said, "I look at us as just another band in the secular market like with all these other hardcore bands and we just happen to be a Christian band that has different beliefs."
Underoath typically perform the straightforward melodic metalcore musical style. After releasing Underoath's debut Act of Depression and Cries of the Past, founding guitarist Corey Steger left the band. Steger and other founding member Dallas Taylor were noted for giving Underoath their principal sound. When Taylor left Underoath following the release of The Changing of Times, an album that somewhat foreshadowed the changes to come for the band, the group's style took a considerable change as new vocalist Chamberlain joined. With Chamberlain, the writing dynamic change in the band ? now Gillespie and Chamberlain wrote the lyrics they sang ? and Underoath released They're Only Chasing Safety. The album marked with an experimentation with tracks such as "Reinventing Your Exit" and the well-structured "It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door" which makes use of a Church-oriented singing choir during the bridge and electronic percussion." Also, Underoath began "a cleaner, more direct heavy rock style". Then Define the Great Line was released in which Chamberlain noted that his vocals sounded less like himself imitating Taylor's vocals, and more similar to the vocals of his previous band, This Runs Through. Alternative Press stated, " bellow more carnal and guttural, his high end more tuneful than whiny."
Main article: List of Underoath members
Spencer Chamberlain ? lead vocals, additional guitars (since 2003)
Timothy McTague ? lead guitar, backing vocals (2001 onward), additional guitar (since 2001)
Grant Brandell ? bass guitar (since 2002)
James Smith ? rhythm guitar (since 2003)
Christopher Dudley ? keyboards, synthesizers (since 2000)
Aaron Gillespie - clean vocals, drums (since 1997)
Luke Morton- lead guitar (1997-1999)
Rey Anasco- bass (1997-1999)
Dallas Taliaferro Taylor ? unclean vocals (1997?2003) (currently in Maylene and the Sons of Disaster)
Simon Corey Steger ? rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1998?1999), lead guitar, backing vocals (2000-2001)
Octavio Fernandez ? rhythm guitar(2000?2003), bass (1999-2000)( (currently in At the Wake)
Matthew Clark ? bass guitar (2000-2001) (currently in Maylene and the Sons of Disaster and Kicked Out Heel Drag)
Billy Nottke ? bass guitar (2001?2002)
Kelly Scott Nunn ? rhythm guitar (2002?2003) (currently in Maylene and the Sons of Disaster)
Alena Cason- clean vocals, additional guitar (2000)
Matt Tarpey- filled in on vocals in 2003 (currently in Winter Solstice)
Act of Depression
Cries of the Past
The Changing of Times
They're Only Chasing Safety
Define the Great Line
Lost in the Sound of Separation
Lead guitar, backing vocals
Rhythm guitar, bass guitar
Lead guitar, backing vocals