Becoming The Archetype

I Am

Written by: AP on 20/12/2012 13:11:40

Dacula, GA based progressive metalcore band Becoming the Archetype have been around for the best part of a decade and a half, yet somehow I've managed unintentionally to avoid all of their recorded material. Thing have changed throughout the band's career of course, as all of the founding members - Jason Wisdom, Brent Duckett, Jon Star and Wes Gaither - have exited the band, and 80% of the current line-up stems from 2010 or later. As such it is somewhat surprising that the musical direction has changed little, if at all, over the course of four studio albums, and on this fifth creation, "I Am", the basics are still very much in place.

Blending elements of metalcore, progressive metal, djent and death metal, "I Am" is a product of the current musical climate; a modern metal album that oozes quality whilst not challenging the existing boundaries of music like this. To put it in the right context: Becoming the Archetype reside in stylistic territory that draws close parallels to The Faceless (though with less emphasis on the death metal influence), Whitechapel and, to some extent, Between the Buried and Me. The music is dense, heavy and foreboding, with frequent lapses into Opeth-inspired instrumentation; and riddled with sci-fi imagery. The album bodes very little you will not have heard by the four aforementioned bands, yet it emits the feeling that Becoming the Archetype are tremendously talented musicians, not to mention skilled song-smiths.

This is true to the extent that songs like "The Ocean Walker", "The Eyes of the Storm", "The Sky Bearer" and "The Planet Maker" are borderline fantastic, whilst an overwhelming majority of the remaining songs packs enough class to woo even the most stern opposers of metalcore. But that's probably due to the fact that Becoming the Archetype do not allow themselves to conform to the stereotypes of the genre. Breakdowns are present, but infrequent, and positioned with an excellent awareness of functioning song structure; just as the occasional clean sung bits are executed without detriment to the overall severity of the music. "The Planet Maker" is a fine example, laying down an irresistibly groovy base riff that exposes the band's newfound djent influences before rhythm guitarist Seth Hecox airs his clean pipes in the chorus. It's not exactly an astounding voice this guy is in possession of, but it does the job and contributes heavily to the lasting value of this standout track. The same is true of "The Sky Bearer", in which his singing intertwines seamlessly with a soulful, bluesy guitar solo around the halfway mark.

The sci-fi atmosphere mentioned earlier also plays a key role in differentiating this album from most (though not all) contemporary releases of this kind, as it has the welcome effect of tying each of the ten songs around a central chord, so that "I Am" sounds first and foremost like a full album rather than a mere collection of songs. At the same time, however, one gets the sensation that all of this has been done before and wishes Becoming the Archetype would have found some way to carve out their own niche within this crowded genre, and written a record that would be remembered for years to come.


Download: The Ocean Walker, The Eyes of the Storm, The Sky Bearer, The Planet Maker
For the fans of: The Faceless, Onward To Olympas, Whitechapel
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.09.2012
Solid State Records

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