They say that lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice. Well, I’m here today to contend with you that it certainly does. I have witnessed it myself. Not only did it strike twice, but the second strike left a resounding thunderclap as big as the first. Both are still echoing through ear canals, and will for years to come. I’m speaking, metaphorically of course, of I The Breather’s first album These Are My Sins and their brand new album Truth and Purpose.
I The Breather’s debut release is one of my all-time favorite albums. It was, and is, perfect to me in every way. So, as you can imagine, when talk of them recording a sophomore release came about, I was overwhelmed with excitement. I have preordered it, and eagerly await my CD and poster. Because I have the privilege of writing for TNR, I’ve been graced with an early listen of what I bought… I know now without a doubt that it was worth every penny.
The opening track, “False Prophet”, peacefully fades in where These Are My Sins peacefully faded out with “Illuminate”. However, the peace is abruptly interrupted by vocalist Shawn bellowing out “YOU’RE NOT A PROPHET!” (it’s impossible to quote their lyrics without it being in all caps). This track is full of heart stopping energy, setting the trend for the rest of the album. That aspect is what sets these boys apart from the rest of the genre; their honest energy gets your blood flowing even when sitting down with headphones. I am sitting in a library as I write this review, and I have gotten more than one odd look from people as I threw down in my chair.
The vocals are phenomenal. They are the driving force of the band’s energy. Shawn’s screaming style is incomparable, and every word seems to be straight from his heart. The highlight of the album is when Shawn is joined by the one of the few men that is also incomparable in what he does, whose vocals also ooze with pure emotion: a man by the name of Micah Kinard, lead vocalist of Oh, Sleeper. Goosebumps formed on my arms and chills went up my spine when they joined forces in “Mentalist”, ending the moment by thundering, “WE WILL RISE UP!” Besides guest vocals, another new aspect is the inclusion of clean vocals. They are strategically placed, performed in a quality matter, and thankfully, are not overused.
One of the most noticeable differences in this release is the significantly more intricate riffing from guitarists Chase and Justin. They work up and down the fret board, back it up with meaty djent chugs, and throw in occasional pinch harmonics to act as icing on the cake. Drummer, Morgan, is tremendous as always with slick and intricate drumming. It is obvious that they are influenced byAugust Burns Red, with occasional unorthodox time signature changes. Production value has improved greatly as well, with a clearer cut sound and more distinction between instruments and the layers of the music in the songs. The only problem I have with the clearer production is that it cuts away from the rawness of the first album that I loved so much. This is what would keep me from saying this album is superior. There aren’t as many memorable moments like the “YOU WERE BORN DEAD!” howls in “The Common Good” that These Are My Sins had. Not to say it doesn’t have them, there is just a smaller amount.
Honestly though, disregard those miniscule complaints, because they aren’t worthy to be considered anything but a hardly noticeable blemish on this album. Truth and Purpose is on par with These Are My Sins in terms of greatness. I The Breather is a breath of fresh air in the metalcore scene. To those that are bored with the scene right now, this band is your cure. Energetic, ruthless, skillful, emotional and unforgettable… the question has to be asked, can this band do no wrong? So far, they haven’t in my ears.
01. False Prophet
02. The Beginning
03. Bruised & Broken
07. Knights & Pawns