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Florida hardcore outfit Underøath built a devoted following as a hard-hitting Christian metalcore band in the early 2000s, evolving into a dynamic rock group who adeptly blended emotive melody and charged punk rock rhythms. They found mainstream success with 2004's They're Only Chasing Safety and 2006's Define the Great Line, both of which were certified gold. At their peak, the band took an almost decade-long hiatus before re-emerging in 2018 free of religious labels with the Grammy-nominated LP Erase Me. They followed in 2022 with Voyeurist. Underøath formed in 1998 in vocalist Dallas Taylor's bedroom. Within a year, the group -- with guitarist Corey Steger, drummer Aaron Gillespie, and bassist Octavio Fernandez -- had inked a deal with Alabama's Takehold record label. In July 1999, Underøath released the six-song Act of Depression CD, which sold over 2,000 copies. The five-song Cries of the Past followed a year later, selling over 3,000 copies. By this time, Octavio Fernandez had moved from bass to second guitar, Matthew Benjamin Clark joined them on bass, and Christopher Dudley became their keyboard player. In 2002, Takehold licensed all of its bands and releases to Seattle's Tooth & Nail/Solid State label. Underøath hit the studio and recorded the ten songs that would comprise their first album under the new partnership, appropriately titled The Changing of Times. By that point, Corey Steger and Matthew Benjamin Clark had dropped out, and guitarist Timothy McTague and bassist William Edwin Nottke took over. Dallas Taylor abruptly left the group in the middle of the 2003 Warped Tour, leaving distressed fans contemplating the band's uncertain future. Underøath -- which now included bassist Grant Brandell and guitarist James Smith -- continued, enlisting ex-This Runs Through member Spencer Chamberlain as their new vocalist. A year later, the new lineup released They're Only Chasing Safety and supported it on the road with bands like Thrice, the Bled, Hopesfall, and Fear Before the March of Flames. A special edition of the album was released in fall 2005 and included four bonus tracks. Touring continued with a spring 2006 headlining tour alongside Poison the Well, As Cities Burn, and others. Deciding to stick with Tooth & Nail instead of jumping to a major label, the sextet showcased substantial growth and maturity on their next effort, Define the Great Line, issued in June 2006. A heavier, more emotional album than 2004's Chasing Safety, the record sold close to 100,000 copies in just its first week of release and was certified gold by year's end. Climbing all the way to number two, the album became the highest-charting Christian LP on the Billboard 200 since 1997, when LeAnn Rimes took the number one spot with You Light Up My Life. Embraced by fans and critics alike and considered the band's masterpiece by many, the group supported it on Warped's main stage that summer. Underøath entered the studio in 2008 for Lost in the Sound of Separation, an 11-song behemoth that saw the band adopt a darker, more experimental (yet still heavy) sound. In 2009, drummer/vocalist Aaron Gillespie left the group and was replaced by ex-Norma Jean drummer Daniel Davison. Ø (Disambiguation), Underøath's seventh full-length recording, arrived the following year and peaked in the Top 25 of the Billboard 200. After supporting the album on tour, they announced their breakup. In the ensuing years, Underøath issued Anthology: 1999-2013 (Solid State Records), in addition to the compilation Play Your Old Stuff and reissues of their first two albums, Act of Depression and Cries of the Past, in 2013. Despite a brief reunion in 2015, the band would not release new material until 2018 on their eighth studio full-length, Erase Me. In addition to publicly dropping their "Christian band" label, Underøath also welcomed returning drummer/vocalist Gillespie for the album. Featuring the singles "Rapture" and the Grammy-nominated "On My Teeth," Erase Me was a radical departure from their past work, balancing their usual conviction and fury with polished production by Matt Squire (Panic! At the Disco, the Used). They promoted the set on a summer tour with Korn and Alice in Chains. In the years between releases, the band's original guitarist, Corey Steger, died on March 18, 2021, in an auto accident; he was 42 years old. Underøath returned in 2021 with "Damn Excuses," the first single from their ninth set, Voyeurist. Arriving in early 2022, the raucous LP also featured "Cycle" with Ghostemane.
© Ryan J. Downey & Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo


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