Two decades have now passed since metalcore pioneers Unearth presented the world with their debut album.

The Stings of Conscience greeted listeners on January 16, 2001, with Unearth combining their love for mid-90s Swedish death metal with the imperfect, raw hardcore from America’s Northeast. The result was a melting pot of ideas, with the ideal balance of European metal and American hardcore creating a blissfully enticing album that has proved to be a timeless classic.

A hardcore band idolizing records such as Slaughter Of The Soul and Left Hand Path opened a door for heavy music that had never been seen before. This is essentially a genre being perfectly captured by a band on their debut album, making this a musically conscious victory like no other.

Unearth does not try to be heavy on their heartfelt debut; it is a factor their music contains so effortlessly. The paired, flourishing guitar patterns and dynamic interplay between Buz McGrath and Ken Susi sound endlessly captivating, providing the perfect balance of aggression and melody in every track. Their ability to place a breakdown in a song at every possible moment adds an aggressive element that showed just how much the metalcore genre could be pushed even in its formative years, defining the sound completely.

These metallic guitars complement the hardcore vocals from Trevor Phipps, who decorates these tracks with lyrical content delivered in a variety of rasps, growls, and screams. This element also helped set Unearth apart from their contemporaries, solidifying their unique atmosphere of anger alongside the disciplined and frantic drumming of Mike Rudberg and the bass work of Chris Rybicki, a rhythmic glue that will never decay. 

Listen to The Stings of Conscience here.

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