The Air I Breathe

Great Faith In Fools

Written by: BL on 18/09/2011 02:42:29

The Air I Breathe from New Jersey, US seem to have all the makings of classic Rise Records band Miss May I - fast riffs, solos, breakdowns, scream and sing vocals. What's interesting to me though is that The Air I Breathe's debut album "Great Faith In Fools" seems to knock their fellow label-mates' latest 2010 effort "Monument" right out of the ball park. I remember that when first listening to Miss May I a long time ago, I was impressed by their technical Darkest Hour-esque guitar riffs that were the forefront of their sound unlike other similiar bands. But their second album sadly proved a disappointment, it became quickly stagnant since the ideas didn't feel as exciting anymore and I had wondered if Miss May I had peaked too early. Although The Air I Breathe play such a similar kind of generic metalcore (not just compared to Miss May I), "Great Faith In Fools" has some of the most stellar guitar work in the whole metalcore business. Guitarists Cam Baptista and Jesse Butler definitely have shred skills rivaling and even surpassing that from the likes of The Word Alive, I Am Abomination and Miss May I as already mentioned, perhaps falling just short of somewhere near the sort of shennanigans those guys in The Human Abstract are capable of. But does pure virtuoso musicianship alone make a good album?

The introduction piece "The Inevitable" is unfortunately (and inevitably) essentially a big breakdown, but it does have some forboding Inception style horns which was a nice apocalyptic touch. "Take This To Heart" following on immediately goes all out guns blazing with some scorching riffs, ridiculous guitar solos and even more breakdowns to chew through. The clean chorus here is a bit short though and feels rather token in appearance, but it demonstrates that vocalist Tony Dougard can do more than just his rather raspy screams. "Deliverance" has a far better clean chorus thankfully and despite being a bit more predictable in song structure overall, does not compromise the thrilling guitar work one bit and features some great dual harmonies and intricate melodies. The same could be said of "Desolate And Disowned" which has some of my favourite moments of the whole release, the guitar riffing is supreme and runs back and forth through a lot of different sounds and styles, before the song opens up near the end with a nice melodic chorus and soaring guitar solos that just accompany the change in mood brilliantly.

"For What It's Worth" doesn't opt to deviate much from what has come before, as in a teenager high on sugar and unable to calm down after ten cokes. The riffs and lead guitars here are more fetchingly fast than usual, so much so that some of the sweeping solos wouldn't even sound out of place on a Dragonforce record (wait what?), and more clean choruses too though they're a bit more ordinary this time unfortunately. "Vultures" however by contrast, for once abandons clean choruses and bright happier melodies altogether for darker sounding guitar leads with more dissonance and a dirtier groove, though doesn't do enough down this road to have any lasting impression. Thankfully "The Life They Promised" and "Here's To Letting Go" do a better job, returning to their more normal sound. The latter in particular has probably the best chorus on the album and the most amount of melodic guitars yet, not to mention a little riff that pops on top of the breakdown in the closing moments that sends chills down spines. "XIII" is a heavier beast, mostly just because it's more breakdown and dissonance reliant again which is a little offputting admittedly because it doesn't do a lot else by this late stage in the album, though a few sparks of soloing guitars do offer some reprieve from the chugs. "The Awakening" however, being the last song, does as much as it can for one last outing aside from breakdowns with tons of cool riffs and impressive solo after solo after solo, many of which having the same hints of neo-classical metal that have been occasionally present throughout the whole CD but much moreso here, a song for the guitar fans for sure.

Without a doubt, if you are fed up of metalcore bands that don't offer anything to innovate or push the exisiting genre confines, then "Great Faith In Fools" probably isn't the album you are looking for. That said, not being groundbreaking doesn't mean there isn't plenty of meat to gorge off the bones from this solid debut release by The Air I Breathe. It's not the best we will see out of the genre this year mostly because of how formulaic it can be (especially the clean vocals and breakdowns), but the staggering instrumental talent and action packed song writing easily makes for some worthwhile listens above other far more generic bands if you can afford it.

8

Download: Deliverance, The Life They Promised, Here's To Letting Go, The Awakening
For the fans of: Miss May I, The Word Alive, The Human Abstract, Darkest Hour
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.06.2011
Velocity/Rise Records

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