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Underoath is a Grammy-nominated metal core band from Tampa, Florida, formed in 1998.
The band's line-up consists entirely of Christian members.
They are currently signed to Solid State Records and are the label's best selling band.
After several line-up changes, Underoath's only original member is drummer Aaron Gillespie.
During the band's early years, when they were fronted by former vocalist Dallas Taylor, the band displayed a more hardcore sound with their music, with double-bass drums and breakdowns. With Taylor, they released Act of Depression, Cries of the Past, and The Changing of Times. Following his leave, 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 gave them more mainstream and commercial success.
They 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 a new studio album called Lost in the Sound of Separation, which is set to be released on September 2, 2008.
In 1998, the band formed with Dallas Taylor and guitarist Luke Morton in Taylor's bedroom in Tampa, Florida. Morton devised the name Underoath "from somewhere in the Bible." Drummer Aaron Gillespie, who attended Morton's church, was 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 and touring the area around Florida, the group signed to Alabama's Takehold Records in 1999. Luke Morton had left the band without appearing on any of their formal recordings. They released their debut Act of Depression, which sold 2,000 copies.
In 2000, keyboardist Christopher Dudley joined the band, and the five-song, forty-minutes long record, Cries of the Past was released, selling 3,000 copies. Currently, both Act of Depression and Cries of the Past are no longer in print. After the release of Cries of the Past, Steger, who along with Taylor are credited to give the band it's principle sound, left the group.
In 2001, Takehold Records was bought out by Seattle's Tooth & Nail Records and the band was subsequently signed to the label's heavier 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, "When the Sun Sleeps." Lyrics on The Changing of Times, as Taylor explained was 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 work 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, the members supported The Changing of Times 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 keyboarder, Chris Dudley, Taylor could no longer tour with the band 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, and in the fall, 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 the group 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, the band discussed the possibility of changing the name and becoming a new band. Ultimately, the members decided to remain as Underoath.
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 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 out sell the previous three albums combined. Featuring only one original band member in the form of Gillespie, They're Only Chasing Safety had been a vast change from their metal roots.
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. "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 the Spring of 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. The band made their first cover of Alternative Press magazine with the September 2005 issue.
In October, They're Only Chasing Safety was re-released in a two-disc set with three formerly unreleased songs. Also included was new artwork by Jacob Bannon of the band Converge, and a DVD with over two hours worth of the band touring in support of the album.
In January 2006, the band 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; The Almost subsequently was signed to Tooth & Nail and released its first record, Southern Weather a year later 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, the group 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 #2, the highest debut for a Christian album since 1997.
The album debuted at #1 on the Christian, Christian/Gospel, and Rock charts and, for its first four weeks on the chart stayed in the top 50.
With the debut of Define the Great Line, the band 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.
It is the second album in Tooth & Nail history to reach that distinction (The first being Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo by MxPx in 2000).
The band was scheduled to spend the summer of 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."
Rumors to the contrary, however, flew that the band had actually left because NOFX frontman Michael "Fat Mike" Burkett had made fun of Underoath and their Christian beliefs on-stage. 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."
Burkett admitted to Punknews.org that he had poked fun at the band, 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."
The group toured extensively throughout Europe, Australia, and Asia in the fall of 2006, from February to April in 2007 toured with Taking Back Sunday and Armor for Sleep.
The band 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 23rd. Underoath performed a Canadian tour followed by the Taste of Chaos World Tour, and also played at Cornerstone Festival 2007.
On July 17, 2007 the band 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 shown on the cover of the Van's Warped Tour 2008 Compilation CD.
During the 2007 fall tour, Chamberlain confirmed various times that the band will have a new record out in the summer of 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 has said that the forthcoming album, Lost in the Sound of Separation, will be considerably heavier than Define the Great Line. They set up a Live video feed of the band in the studio, however the live feed has since been discontinued, because of the completion of the new album.
Beginning in the fall of 2007, the band had been filming the third person documentary Survive, Kaleidoscope. "The Audible Diversion Group", a small film team, shot footage of the band as they followed Underoath on a fall tour and the entirety of the "We Believe in Dino-Tours."
The film was shot in 720p high definition 16:9 widescreen format. The group released the Survive, Kaleidoscope live CD/DVD on May 27, 2008. The band recorded the concert footage at a performance in Philadelphia at the Electric Factory in October 2007.
Additionally, the group will be joining the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Tour during the summer of 2008 with bands that include Slipknot, Disturbed, Mastodon, and Dragonforce. Underoath will be headlining the Hot Topic stage on the tour. Underoath has posted a new song entitled "Desperate Times, Desperate Measures" on their MySpace page.
Bassist Grant Brandall has explained that Underoath's music has been influenced by various bands such as Refused, At The Drive-In, Jimmy Eat World, Isis (band) 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, "We are Christian but 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."
When Underoath began in 1998, the band displayed a much different sound than their current, which was described as melodic death metal and death core. 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 the group 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 sung — and Underoath released They're Only Chasing Safety.
The album marked "experimentation with tracks like the poppy, radio-friendly 'Reinventing Your Exit,' and the well-structured 'It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door' which uses a children's 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, "Chamberlain's bellow is more carnal and guttural, and his high end more tuneful than whiny." Andree Farias of Christianity Today said before the release of Define the Great Line, the band had been "sticking close to the formulaic confines of emo-core, with loads of monotonic screaming, scattered melodies, simplistic guitar riffs, and brutal pounding".
According to Christian Today, the album was "more ambitious than Underoath's previous efforts."
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