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Surfacing

July 01, 2006|CASEY DOLAN

Turning the spotlight on musicians making a commercial breakthrough.

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-- CASEY DOLAN

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"Define the Great Line"

Underoath

Artist info: Word of mouth, and not radio play, has given this passionate Florida sextet one of the top-selling albums in the country this last week. A touch of the melodic sensibility of emo, mixed with the subterranean vocals of grind-core and the larynx lacerations of punk set the band slightly apart from the usual Vans Warped Tour fare -- it's a veteran of that annual event and is appearing this summer on it -- but what really "defines the great line" for Underoath is that it's a Christian band; this is music with a message. The album delves into new sonic territory, exploring phasing and untried guitar sounds, to deliver that message.

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Back story: Underoath formed in Tampa in 1998 and gradually built up the old-fashioned way: releasing its first two CDs on a small independent label, in this case Takehold out of Alabama. Takehold licensed its artists to Tooth & Nail Records in Seattle, for which the band recorded its first album, "The Changing of Times," in 2002. The first lead vocalist, Dallas Taylor, left the band during touring for this album and was replaced by Spencer Chamberlain, who continues to front the band. A steady diet of touring and two subsequent releases have boosted the band into a brighter spotlight.

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Influences: Florida hard-core, Glassjaw, Saves the Day, Pantera

Trivia: Vocalist Chamberlain says that the title means creating the path upon which an individual can better himself in his life.

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