Define the Great Line
|Define the Great Line|
|Studio album by|
|Released||June 20, 2006|
|Studio||Zing Recording Studios, Westfield, Massachusetts; Glow in the Dark, Atlanta, Georgia|
|Label||Tooth & Nail|
|Producer||Matt Goldman, Adam Dutkiewicz, and Underoath|
|Special Edition cover|
Cover for the Special Edition of Define the Great Line, which includes a bonus DVD.
|Singles from Define the Great Line|
'Writing on the Walls'
Define the Great Line is the fifth album by American rock band Underoath. The album was released in the United States on June 20, 2006, along with a limited edition version containing exclusive artwork and DVD. For the recording of this album, Underoath's usual producer, James Paul Wisner, was replaced by Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage and Matt Goldman. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 charts selling over 98,000 copies in its first week, and within a week of its release it became the highest charting Christian album on the Billboard 200 since 1997.
Musical style and lyrical themes
The title of the album, according to keyboardist Christopher Dudley, comes from "defining that line for yourself between becoming the man or the woman that you want to be and the man or the woman other people want you to be." Alternative Press used the title as an example of how on this album Underoath seemed "acutely aware of the line that separates their spiritual core from the painful reality of being human," and how "even successful musicians need help staying on the right side of that line."
Unlike They're Only Chasing Safety, Define the Great Line was written by both Spencer Chamberlain (vocals) and Aaron Gillespie (drums). Alternative Press noted Chamberlain's lyrical presence, saying that "between Chamberlain's deeply troubled writing and drummer/singer Aaron Gillespie's, Define sounds like a group-therapy session put to tape."
For its lyrics the band maintained its focus on Christianity and personal struggles, and according to Josh Taylor of Jesus Freak Hideout the big difference was "the frequency at which God is addressed by name," though all of these mentions were in "exclamations of desperation." The main lyrical themes of the album expressed pain, weariness, and frustration, "but not without the awareness that things need to change." These themes were praised by AllMusic, which stated that "while Underoath explore their faith with both reverence and suspicion, something that sets them apart from the polarizing righteousness of many CCM acts, their crossover potential remains huge, as the prevailing themes of isolation, anger, introspection, and the quest for self-confidence are universal." According to the band the lyrics are "deeply personal" to Chamberlain and relate to things in his life 'that have molded him into the person he is today.'
Define the Great Line abandoned the pop choruses of the They're Only Chasing Safety and instead demonstrated a heavier and more eclectic style. The band themselves said that the heavier style was "nothing super intentional, they [the songs] just came out that way when we went to write."
Define the Great Line was noted as a turning point for Underoath, with AllMusic commenting that "while the tendency to dissolve into the abyss of angtsy emo-pop was still there," there was a "darkness lurking in the nooks and crannies between the crackling snare hits and heavy 'drop-d' riffing" that would be fully realized on the follow up release, Lost in the Sound of Separation. Alternative Press mentioned that the band had updated its "early, brutal style with weird time changes and post-metal ambience."
Cross Rhythms described the album as "an impressively versatile project where metal riffs and emo breakdowns, screamo noise and memorable hooks collide in a veritable sonic feast," and Allmusic described the band as finding the "delicate middle ground between throat-shredding grindcore and My Chemical Romance/From Autumn to Ashes-style emo-punk."
In early May 2006, the band performed at the Bamboozle festival. The album was released on June 20. "Writing on the Walls" was released to radio on June 27. In October and November, the group went on the 2006 international edition of the Taste of Chaos tour, visiting New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Europe. "You're Ever So Inviting" was released to radio on January 23, 2007. In May, the band headlined the Dirty South Tour in the U.S. with support from Norma Jean and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. From late July to early August, the band went on the 2007 edition of Warped Tour. On September 12, a music video was released for "A Moment Suspended in Time". It was directed by Popcore Film and was filmed in Sweden. Between late September and early November, the band went on the headlining fall tour with support from Every Time I Die, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster and Poison the Well. Prior to the album's release, unfinished versions of the album began circulating the internet, prompting the band to acknowledged the audio files were stolen, but the tracks were not the final versions of the songs.
|Drowned in Sound||5/10|
|Jesus Freak Hideout|||
|HM Magazine||"nearly perfect"|
Define the Great Line received universal acclaim from critics. Tony Cummings of Cross Rhythms said the release was Underoath's big breakthrough into the mainstream, and Jesus Freak Hideout called the album "the most anticipated release of the year." HM Magazine called the album "nearly perfect," and an Alternative Press review gave the album a full five stars, putting forward Gillespie as "the beautiful melodic counterpart to Chamberlain's crushing heaviness," and when discussing the band's style said "call it focused aggression if you want; 'vision' works just as well." AllMusic gave the album three-point-five out of five stars and described Define the Great Line as a "mammoth production that exemplifies how far Christian metal has come since the days of Stryper and Bloodgood", and called it "blistering and occasionally majestic." Both Jesus Freak Hideout and Tony Cummings of Cross Rhythms called the album the best hardcore album of the year, with Jesus Freak Hideout giving the album four-point-five out of five stars and Tony Cummings rating the album a full ten-out-of-ten squares.
The album sold very well and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling over 98,000 copies in its first week. By August 2006, the album had sold over 220,000 copies. On November 11, 2006 the album was certified gold by the RIAA, confirming the sale of over 500,000 copies. The album's lead single "Writing on the Walls" was nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.
|1.||"In Regards to Myself"||3:24|
|2.||"A Moment Suspended in Time"||3:59|
|3.||"There Could Be Nothing After This"||3:26|
|4.||"You're Ever So Inviting"||4:13|
|6.||"Returning Empty Handed"||4:27|
|7.||"Casting Such a Thin Shadow"||6:14|
|8.||"Moving for the Sake of Motion"||3:15|
|9.||"Writing on the Walls"||4:02|
|10.||"Everyone Looks So Good from Here"||2:56|
|11.||"To Whom It May Concern"||7:02|
The song "Sálmarnir" contains Psalm 50, verses 1 to 6. The title itself is the Icelandic word for "psalms," though the Bible passage in the song is recited in Russian.
- Grant Brandell – bass guitar
- Spencer Chamberlain – lead vocals, additional rhythm guitars
- Christopher Dudley – keyboard, synthesizers
- Aaron Gillespie – drums, clean vocals
- Timothy McTague – lead guitars, backing vocals
- James Smith – rhythm guitars, additional lead guitars
- Matt Goldman – producer
- Adam Dutkiewicz – producer
- Underoath – producer
- Chris Lord-Alge – mixing
- Unique Recording Studios, New York – mixing location
- Tom Baker – mastering 
- Jeff Gros – photography
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