It's an undeniable fact that metalcore is a much hated genre in the metal kingdom for various reasons, such as its appeal to teeenagers and its prominent use of breakdowns as well as the use of commercial and even poppy elements by many artists affiliated with the genre. I can sort of follow this, but I, while considering myself a metalhead of the old school, do not belong to the groups of people who reject metalcore releases per se, as I think that there are indeed a number of positive qualities to metalcore music, and I have come across more than a bunch of metalcore bands that I enjoy.
And so I welcomed the opportunity to check out the latest release by American metalcore act I The Breather – namely, their 2012-release Truth and Purpose.
The music on Truth and Purpose strike me as being pretty typical metalcore, observing all the stylistic features of the metalcore genre – for better and for worse. Thus, most of the tracks are built around breakdown-style groovy riffs in the verses (with the vocals being aggressively yelled), while the choruses are mostly melodic or memorable in some other way. I think that a lot of the verse riffage is pretty cool and definitely very tightly delivered, and I can imagine that metalcore-lovers will find this to be a very positive feature. Personally, I think that, while I admire and enjoy this sort of riffage, I think there is too much of it on the album, and Truth and Purpose is probably going to be one of those albums that I listen to a track at the time. One interesting thing, however, is that I The Breather make use of more atmospheric or melodic guitars overlaid on top of the metalcore grooves, which definitely creates a more voluminous and interesting texture than had they not done that. The parts that I appreciate the most are those that are taken in a more thrashy direction (as in 'Meaning', 'Knights Pawns', and 'Judgement') as well as those that are taken in a more progressive direction. There are a couple of bursts of technicality every now and then, which are a welcome addition to all the metalcorishly groovy riffage, and I also like the more djenty instrumental 'Lunar'.
On the whole, I think that Truth and Purpose is a quite enjoyable album, but it does not strike me as being terribly innovative nor terribly compelling, and to my ears, it does end up being a bit monotonous. Still, I can imagine that those who really love the aesthetics of metalcore, will totally love the way that they are put to use on this album. So, fans of the genre should definitely check it out. Other listeners might want to give it a listen a couple of tracks at the time, because there is too much quality stuff on the album to be ignored simply because it is a metalcore release.
(review originally posted at seaoftranquility.org)