Hot off the Press

Becoming The Archetype | I Am

by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist —

Becoming The ArchetypeBecoming The Archetype (BTA) are in no danger of being pigeonholed; none of their albums have sounded alike. They dabbled with death metal on their debut (Terminate Damnation), moved to a more melodic shredding sound on their sophomore effort (The Physics of Fire), stripped things down for their third outing (Dichotomy), and put out a progressive mess with last year’s release (Celestial Completion). Now they are back with a new album, a new vocalist, and a new direction: technical, riff-oriented metal-core with some death metal influence.

The experimental textures and tones that have defined BTA over the years have been brought into submission and layered more organically. This is metal-core that sounds fresh yet familiar, identifiable as Becoming The Archetype but more straight forward than we have heard from the band in the past. The energy on this album is fierce, raging, and mosh-worthy, with crushingly heavy songs and a bottom end that rumbles with hurricane force and threatens to explode your speakers.

In keeping with BTA’s death metal roots, the vocals are suitably brutal, with guttural growls that will have you impressed that such a demonic sound can come from a human throat, punctuated by metal-core screams. There are some clean vocals, but they are used so rarely that they almost seem like an afterthought, as if someone in the band said, “Hey, we didn’t use any clean vocals,” and someone else replied, “Let’s just throw them in somewhere and call it a day.” The guitars slam down some sick riffs and sweet solos while the rhythm section seethes with primal intensity. There is a metal artistry at play here, nearly overpowered by the maelstrom but discernible between the unbridled fury and bad-ass breakdowns. Even those who dislike “-core” music must admit that BTA are no amateur slouches.

Granted, if you’re looking for the slick commercial crossover appeal of As I Lay Dying or All That Remains, you may be as disappointed as a nympho dating a eunuch. Aside from “The Planet Maker” and “The Sun Eater,” clean vocals are as sparse as virgins at a brothel and while there is melody to be found amidst the chaos, it is not the band’s main focus. Neither are hooks; you can call this album good, vicious, heavy, brutal, etc., but “catchy” is not a descriptor that applies. Whether that is a pro or con depends entirely on your metal-core proclivity.

The band’s last album was an overblown misfire, but BTA have redeemed themselves this time around. “The Eyes of the Storm” brings a wicked, walloping riff and thick, heaping earfuls of low end thunder. “The War Ender” tears out of the gate with a tempo fast enough to outrun machine gun bullets and threatens to peel your face off right down to the subcutaneous tissue with its intricate aggression. “I Am” brings the album to an epic close, deceptively mellow and moody at first before erupting into a skull-hammering metal-core monstrosity. A few songs are a little on the ho-hum side, but for the most part this is a solid death, metal-core release.

BTA are well on their way to becoming a flagship on the Solid State Records roster. The heavy wall of sound supported by technical prowess should strongly appeal to connoisseurs of the genre. And now that the band have embraced a more typical (but in no way generic) approach, when someone asks the question, “Who is a Becoming The Archtype fan?” more and more of the metal-core masses should be able to answer, “I am.”

Genre: Metal-core, Death Metal

Chris McCane (vocals)
Seth Hecox (guitar, keyboards, clean vocals)
Daniel Gailey (guitar)
Codey Watkins (bass)
Chris Heaton (drums)

Track Listing
1. The Ocean Walker
2. The Time Bender
3. The Eyes of the Storm
4. The Sky Bearer
5. The Machine Killer
6. The War Ender
7. The Weapon Breaker
8. The Planet Maker
9. The Sun Eater
10. I Am

Label: Solid State Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 7/10