However powerful and extreme Underoath may have appeared on their previous albums, they open a whole new listening experience with the release of their live album, Survive, Kaleidoscope. To me, nothing makes a band more honest and genuine than the production of a live album.
For Survive, Kaleidoscope, the performances are real, the fans are true, and the emotions are unrehearsed. Of course, you’re going to find that the music engineers attempt as much post-production effects as they possibly can to enhance the Underoath experience, but it’s still jaw-dropping.
From the start of “Returning Empty Handed,” you can almost feel the hairs on the back of your neck beginning to stand up. Underoath has always done a great job at creating anticipation for their performances. I can remember seeing them with Taking Back Sunday and they opened their set with a sound-clip from the movie 300 where King Leonidas shouts with rage “This is Sparta!” As you can imagine, the crowd went wild. Survive, Kaleidoscope still captures a bit of that live magic for me still.
It’s great to hear Underoath still playing the “classics” from They’re Only Chasing Safety like “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door.” However, Aaron Gillespie’s voice is not exactly what you expect compared to that quality on the studio albums. I’m not going to complain that he can’t hold that phrase “My knuckles have turned to white…” for a full fifteen seconds like he does on the studio recording. It’s just not realistic when he’s also in charge of keeping the beat for everything on Survive, Kaleidoscope.
Spencer Chamberlain’s screams on Survive, Kaleidoscope are manly and as insane as they should be. I’m sure fans would be thoroughly disappointed if they couldn’t recreate that quality on Underoath’s live album. They made him sound amazing however. I could listen to “Casting Such a Thin Shadow” over and over again and get nightmares from that man’s wail.
I was very excited that they decided to include “A Boy Brushed Red Living in a World of Black and White” on Survive, Kaleidoscope since that’s my personal favorite by Underoath. I wasn’t fortunate enough to hear that song played at the Taking Back Sunday show, so getting the secondhand experience from Survive, Kaleidoscope made my day.
Another thing that really interested me was back-up vocals by their guitarist, Timothy McTague on “You’re Ever So Inviting.” I had no idea that he was the high-pitched voice behind “We tore the pages left to right!” What a great voice he has. This discovery causes me to wonder why he hasn’t stepped on to the microphone for other Underoath albums, let alone Survive, Kaleidoscope and Define the Great Line.
Underoath is certainly a crowd-pleaser. There’s no doubt about that. From the first time I saw their music video for “Reinventing Your Exit” and they’re just rocking out like crazy, I immediately felt they embodied a very important quality of live performance. For Underoath fans that still haven’t purchased this album, Survive, Kaleidoscope will not disappoint; not by a long shot.