(Andy Synn is the author of this review of the new album by Becoming the Archetype, with music from the album at the end.)
Five albums. That’s a pretty good legacy for any band, particularly when they’ve managed to progress with each release, from the unconventional prog-core of Terminate Damnation, through the more esoteric and Extol-infused The Physics Of Fire, the more conceptual and song-oriented approach of Dichotomy, and rounded off with the more stylistically varied Celestial Completion. Through it all though, regardless of several line-up shifts, they’ve retained a core identity that gives the name Becoming The Archetype both its power and its continued relevance.
That being said, let me give you a quick heads up – while I Am continues the tradition of progressing the band’s sound with each release, particularly in this case as a darker, heavier album much of the time, this is not the Becoming The Archetype you’re used to, and almost certainly not the Becoming The Archetype you may be expecting.
“The Ocean Walker” (not an Arrested Development reference, as far as I can tell) immediately sets the stage with its unexpected Periphery style leads and semi-Meshuggah-ised riffs. Thankfully it’s more than an uninspired imitation (it remains distinctively BTA throughout), but the shift in sonic priorities is initially startling. That being said, Chris McCain’s vocals manage to reference enough hints of Jason Wisdom early on to establish continuity, before dropping into a more guttural roar, upping the brutality and paired with a thunderous, chugging riff.
This is followed by two particularly aggressive tracks that recall the more “-core” oriented material of Terminate Damnation. The “Timebender” has a great off-kilter central riff, a warped and dissonant lead refrain, and an almost mechanised sense of rhythm that isn’t far from that perfected by Living Sacrifice. “The Eyes Of The Storm” employs a similarly neck-snapping, rhythmic approach, though the two songs are clearly distinctive entities. The chiming keyboard presence and lightning-fast lead motif draw a line back to the precision compositions of Dichotomy, but with an uncompromising heaviness and visceral vocal intensity that harkens back to the band’s earliest days. Continue reading »