Becoming The Archetype

I Am

01. The Ocean Walker
02. The Time Bender
03. The Eyes of the Storm
04. The Sky Bearer
05. The Machine Killer
06. The War Ender
07. The Weapon Breaker
08. The Planet Maker
09. The Sun Eater
10. I AM

[Solid State Records]

American progressive metalcore band Becoming The Archetype are an interesting sort. Their earlier albums featured standard metalcore enhanced by death metal musings (in a different manner from regular deathcore). Conversely, their previous album Celestial Completion was heavily influenced by popular progressive deathcore and post-metal bands. It had a different sound that was simpler, but also more ambient, featuring clean vocals and post-metal style instrumentation accented by syncopated guitars. Now they’ve come out with a new record just a year after Celestial Completion, but they’ve also lost many members in the transition. Now armed with a new singer, bassist and drummer; their new album I Am offers the potential for yet another change in direction. But does the end result actually sound different? Never mind that, is it even any good? Let’s take a look.

Well, if one thing is for sure, I Am does not offer a return to the band’s original style. It’s closest in sound to Celestial Completion. I Am almost feels like a direct sequel to Celestial Completion. The post-metal elements of Celestial Completion take the back seat for a more djent-influenced ambiance. This is where the problems also start to appear. In essence, there isn’t a single original bone in I Am‘s body. Every riff feels like something you’ve heard before. Many times while listening one might think “Hey, this sounds like that riff in that Periphery song” or “These chugs remind me of a b-grade Born of Osiris.” The opening track ‘The Ocean Walker’ has its structure and riffs almost exactly taken from Arcadia Libre guitarist Jose Macario’s solo piece ‘Induction.’ Granted, the unique use of clean vocals does add a fresh take on the songs, but the rest of the sound is so derivative that if parts of songs were to be heard out of context, they could easily be mistaken for other bands. However, in the end what matters are the results. Are the songs enjoyable? Yes, they most definitely are. There is a constant energetic drive in each song, which makes the album as a whole quite entertaining. The melodies are catchy and the heavy parts invite one to headbang furiously. Most songs are upbeat and they always move forward, each riff adding more and more power. The riffs might not be original, but they’re put together with mastery.

It also helps that the production is pretty massive. The guitar tone is deep and broad, sounding all-encompassing, yet clear. The drums, while clearly using samples, don’t have a disturbingly fake sound. One thing that people might take issue with however is the vocal work. It’s not that their production is bad — they sound just right — but they usually have a monotonous and almost inhaled sound, leading to little to no range to the vocals. The clean vocals definitely add more depth, but new singer Chris McCane doesn’t have the ferocious quality that Jason Wisdom had.

After an ending bout of criticism, it might feel like this album doesn’t have any merit to it, burlt that’s not entirely true. It might not win the metal music equivalent of a Grammy award, but it’s still a lot of fun. There aren’t any moments on the album that aren’t enjoyable. The songs are empowering and energizing. In the end, this is a decision that you would need to make: Do you want a lot of depth and crazy innovation out of an album? If so, this isn’t really for you. If you want a good time with solid riffing and non-stop metalcore, then I Am will definitely satisfy your needs.

Becoming the Archetype – I Am gets…


– NT

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