Review Summary: Inhale Exhale, don't you get bored of never progressing?
Things change and grow with time. Plants, people, animals, leftover brownies - they all get older and take on new properties and characteristics as they age. Naturally, the same rings true with most bands. Musicians tend to branch out and experiment from album to album - the results can be anywhere from outstanding to completely polarizing. In the decade-ending year of 2009, we've seen countless bands develop and/or change. We've seen August Burns Red go from mediocre to exciting, we've seen blessthefall go from laughable to tolerable and we've seen Isis essentially stay exactly the same -- and now, with Inhale Exhale's Bury Me Alive
, we're seeing a band go from being relatively enjoyable to being thumb-twiddlin', expletive-worthy, blow-your-brains-out boring
From the frantic first breakdown of opener 'Rooms' to the post-production wind tunnel that closes the album on 'An Era', Bury Me Alive
is non-stop monotony. Musically, the album is a lackluster combination of the colorless The Lost, The Sick and the Sacred
and the dissonant I Swear...
, marrying boring elements from each of the albums while tossing away all the engaging parts. Bury Me Alive
is also further evidence that Inhale Exhale need more than one guitarist. Guitarist John LaRussa has always been kind of a throw-away riff-maker but he makes leaps and bounds in the world of mediocrity this time around. Instead of making enjoyable, noodly riffs (such as the ones found in I Swear...
's 'I Needed A Space Ship'), LaRussa opts for making dissonant chugging that succeeds only at putting the listener to sleep. Not even his awful faux-solo in 'Explosions' or the laughably beefy guitar production (how else do you make an album sound heavy with only guitarist?) can save his performance on Bury Me Alive
To make matters worse, Inhale Exhale have little else to rely on besides LaRussa. While vocalist Ryland Raus' clean vocal debut on I Swear...
was really quite enjoyable, both his screams and his melodies seem forced and rehashed on Bury Me Alive
- his lyrics don't help either: try to keep a straight face during the "to hell and back
" breakdown in 'Explosions' (a song which also showcases the band's worst chorus yet). Drummer Chris Carroll and bassist Greg Smith are incredibly unremarkable (the latter being unsurprisingly inaudible) and bring nothing to the aural table. While most of the album can illustrate the band's mediocrity, songs like 'Fiction' and 'Intentions' are stand-out disposable tracks that, while not abhorrent, are just so incredibly generic and lifeless that they're lulling to listen to.
Yet in the song 'A Dark Place for Your Mind to Be', Inhale Exhale get it right. Starting with a catchy dissonant riff, the album launches into a myriad of breakdowns, catchy choruses and loopy riffs. Its I Swear...
-like composition is proof that the band isn't completely hopeless. It also proves that the band maybe should work harder on creating more songs like it -- especially when taking into account that Bury Me Alive
is coming out only a year after the band's latest effort. For now, there's reason to believe that Inhale Exhale just rushed themselves into creating Bury Me Alive
and the one stand out track on the album is reason enough to believe that the band isn't compromised out of completely talentless wretches. Yet for what it's worth, Bury Me Alive
is really quite bad -- it's boring, it's unoriginal and lazy. Here's to hoping that Inhale Exhale learn how to progress next time around.