Review Summary: Double pedal Jesus metal.
I stumbled upon this band last summer when they released a couple un-mastered tracks off what would later become their debut full length, "These Are My Sins". I don't usually like to use similar bands to describe the sound of another, but in this case I have to. If you take August Burns Red and add in a little After The Burial or Circle Of Contempt, you have I, The breather. However, just because you can hear distinctly clear influences of other bands doesn't mean that it's bad. They aren't ripping off the sounds of any of the aforementioned bands at all. In fact, they have a pretty original sound which is tough to accomplish in metalcore.
To elaborate, I, The Breather utilizes a melodic flow similar to August Burns Red and Texas In July whilst thrusting their music forward with technical chugs found in such bands as After The Burial and Circle Of Contempt. All these bands have one thing in common and that is breakdowns. If you do not like breakdowns I highly suggest you steer away from this album and review because this album is loaded with them. Although quite frequent, they are properly placed and well crafted with melodic overlay to give listeners something more to listen to besides chugging and crash cymbals. The songs “Longevity” and “Forgiven” are great examples as they have some pretty complex melo-chugs (yes I just made that word up) for your ears to enjoy.
The drumming on this album is rather impressive despite the fact that it's primarily breakdowns. As you may have guessed, these guys are fast and that alone can be enough for metalheads alike. The rapid and rather intriguing breakdown patterns don't fail in showcasing the drummers skills. They don't play any open note, crash cymbal, deathcore style junk of which the soul purpose is to inspire live show intesity. Although he isn't giving Alex from Despised Icon any competition, his speed does not go un-noticed.
Not to beat the dead horse, but the guitar work is also fantastic. Well, the lead guitar is anyway. The rhythm guitar is all chug, all the time, but I digress. For most listeners the melodic element will be the highlight of this album. While the fast drumming drives it forward, the guitars accent it almost perfectly and give it a crisp, polished sound that flows brilliantly. A lot of the riffs are repeated throughout verses and use short melodic shreds to transition between repetitions. A prime example is in the song “Crown Me King”. Right from the intro you will see what I'm talking about. The only fault with the guitars is that some of the less melodic riffing sounds forced and awkwardly placed. For example the opening track “Forgiven” starts fast and gets even faster for the minute or so, building up a lot of energy only to break into a mediocre, awkward riff. There is a similar example in the song “Allspark” as well.
The vocals exhibited on this album are rather odd and interesting. They kind of sound like a scratchy, amplified whine which sounds pretty terrible by description, but that isn't completely true. The vocals will grow on you and you'll realize they fit quite well with the sound they have. They have some pretty passionate, religion based lyrics that enduce a good amount of emotion and the vocals just seem to fit in well. As far as lyrics, they are not that bad, but they suffer from being very strictly tied to Christianity. They could use to be a little more vague with their religious messages and allow listeners to craft their own meanings from the words. I personally don't follow any type of organized religion so I have a hard time relating to a lot of what they're saying. On the positive end of the spectrum, they don't use any forced rhyming which would cause the message to lose it's clarity. Not to say rhyming is bad, but there's a lot of cheesy garbage out there that deters a lot of potential fans from possibly giving a damn.
Last, yet surprisingly not least since this is a metalcore album, is the bass. The bassist serves to emboss the drums and the overall sound and does just that spectacularly. If you are planning on plugging your five dollar headphones into a cheap laptop and checking this out, you aren't going to experience the full sound this album has to offer. Unfortunate it may be, but you need some quality listening devices to enjoy this in it's entirety because you're really missing out otherwise.
Just a couple more negatives and I promise I'll shut up. They suffer from the ever so common “every song sounds the same” issue. By that I mean that it's hard to differentiate between them. Another thing is that almost half of this album is made up of re-recorded demos. I personally didn't know this until after I heard “These Are My Sins”, but longtime fans may feel a little cheated because there are only ten real songs and one instrumental. Overall, these guys have a lot of talent and have no problem showing you that with this effort. I recommend this for anyone who wants a little more substance in their metalcore, provided you can get into the vocals.