Though metalcore rock band Underoath has been regarded as a Christian band for years, don't expect their new album Erase to feature anything that resembles praise and worship music. Instead, there is even profanity in the album's first single "On My Teeth."
Here are part of the lyrics of "On My Teeth:"
Let's get this straight
I'm fine without you
I'm not your f**king prey
So save yourself
And no one else
Though Christian fans may cherish the years when Underoath still regard themselves as a Christian band, the band differ. To them, those years were the most miserable. "The worst years of my life - the most miserable years of my life, the years I got treated the worst and was the most alone and made the most mistakes of my life - was when I was a quote-unquote Christian," vocalist Spencer Chamberlain tells Exclaim! "It was the hardest, most difficult time of my life, and that's the opposite of what it's supposed to be."
In his decade with the band, from joining in 2003 to their breakup in 2012, they went from homogeny to being torn apart. "When we started off, we weren't allowed to have different personalities. We all ate the same food, we all dressed the same, we listened to the same bands, and that's just super unrealistic. I feel like different people at different times have experienced different ups-and-downs in life and took different paths. and we all let the whole thing fuck us up in different ways, and then we recovered from them in different ways, and everyone stands in a different spot, and we don't speak for each other as far as religious beliefs go."
Drummer and vocalist Aaron Gillespie felt the same way. "In our early 20s we started to ask questions.'" the drummer says, noting their evolving attitudes towards what constituted a good Christian. "But we wouldn't talk about it, and that was ultimately the demise of Underoath."
Yet, it was not too long ago when Gillespie himself released a solo worship album which even featured his version of Hillsong's "Praise Him:"
"Religious bullying" is the term Chamberlain uses. "We were trying to find ways to cope because we couldn't communicate with the people we loved," he says. "I was a drug addict for 12 years... It started so small and became something so big that we had to break up. Thank god none of us died in the process."
In a new official video, the band explained its decision to drop the Christian label. "It was like a fraternal situation where everyone had to think the same," Gillespie tells Billboard. "The worst thing we can do as humans is exclude other humans... I'm not saying don't be Christian, but you can't rely on what people say. You have to find it for yourself."
Soon after, Underoath emerged with a new album. Erase Me -- released last month on Fearless Records -- is a sleek, yet scorching listen, pummeling hardcore punctuated by swirling synthesizers and commanding vocal hooks. Their single "Rapture" currently sits just outside the top 20 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. "This is the first time our band worked together, didn't fight through a recording process, under the gun, with no time to record," Chamberlain says. It shows.