Review Summary: Metalcore that doesn't suck...
Lansing Michigans Metalcore outfit Of Virtues' debut release, To Breathe Again, may be one of the best releases the genre can offer. While the band is collectively very young and still have a growing fan base throughout the Mid-West they write with knowledge of seasoned artists and out perform some of the bands that very well could have been their inspiration.
With an overall sound along the likes of Misery Signals or in a less flattering way For the Fallen Dreams, for a metalcore release there is a lot of melody behind their writing. They take a progressive, clean, melodic approach than the mindless chugging of most metalcore acts. Although its not to say the album is breakdown free, it has a small share as heard in The Feat of Man which has one of the heaviest and yet best breakdowns woven into a song that I have came across. In the case for Of Virtue they have a real talent for well written and fitting breakdowns that will satisfy the crowd that need the breakdowns in their songs and those who will listen only if you have to.
Tracks like The Greatest Height and Blood on my Hands are the kind of tracks that makes you want to love metalcore again, it really does breathe life back into the genre, and that holds some weight when your talking about a band as small as Of Virtue in comparison to some of your household names. The Greatest Height and Blood on my Hands represent the more Progressive tracks on the record and are so beautifully done, you forget your listening to a band that you and only a few buddies know. Clocking in at almost 7 minutes Blood on my Hands shows every angle that this band has to offer from melodic yet crushing guitars, full clean vocal and guitar break for almost 2 minutes and transitioning back into a stand out heavy outro that is sure to resonate with you as the track fades away.
The albums' only fault is that its only 6 tracks and you wish you had 4 or 5 more tracks to really feel the album as a whole. But with their full length due out this month I have no doubt that they will present the same caliber of music produced here, even more mature (than it already is) and just as crushing.
To Breathe Again is an album that stands tall over most metalcore, it breathes new life into a dying genre full of mediocrity. Of Virtue are an emerging band that will continue with their crushing and inspiring live shows around the Mid-West and grow their fan base and show the nation that metalcore doesn’t have to suck.
Look for Of Virtues’ full length album, heart sounds, due out later this month.
You can hear some new songs and old via their Facebook page.