CD review

Heavy metal music has certainly changed since the time of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, but some things about the music simply won’t change: It’s still loud, fast and full of doom and gloom.

These qualities hold true with the latest release from Unearth, “III: In the Eyes of Fire.” The band’s first album since 2004, this disk boasts crunchy riffs and ground-shaking drum beats. “III: In the Eyes of Fire” is a twin-guitar metal assault that proves this musical genre is far from dead. Plus, any band that puts battle-axes on their cover has already got my attention.

This 11-track release starts off fast and aggressive and remains unrelenting until the last note hits. While the album does have its softer points, these moments are few and far between, leaving enough anger behind to make listeners want to shake their fists.

The guitar work is just as brutal and is easily the bands’ greatest attribute. Lyrically, the insert reads like a book of gothic poetry, with songs that delve into several complex issues, ranging from death and alcoholism to war and isolation.

Aside from the aggressive lyrics and sound, another ear-catching aspect of the album was the complete lack of profanity. Although Unearth deals with dark and macabre subjects, the band holds back on the four-letter expletives, using intelligent language and colorful metaphors instead.

The only disadvantage to this album is the lack of variety. Almost every track sounds the same. Even after immersing myself in this disk, I find it hard to tell most songs apart. Some tracks, however, do stand out more than others. “March of the Mutes” and “Big Bear and the Hour of Chaos” both captured my attention.

Unearth spent the summer on the road touring with Ozzfest, but if you missed the show, you can catch the band this fall on the group’s headlining tour, according to the Web site,