Review Summary: A lethal injection of mediocrity.
I'm not going to waste your time with a lengthy introduction explaining my experience with the band or Heavy Metal. I'm not going to tell you about my tastes or a big, long winded story about how Becoming The Archetype has become increasingly popular over the years for reasons that escape me. No, I'm only going to tell you that this record is bad and why.
Firstly-the band photo. The entire lof of 'em are dressed up as intellectual fathers,circa 1930. I'm not entirely sure why a Metal band comprised of mid 20 somethings would choose to dress this way (thick glasses, vests, ties) when their chosen attire has absoluetly no relation to their particual genre of music. In reference, I point you to a Theatrical Black Metal band named "A Forest Of Stars." The members of "A Forest Of Stars," can dress like this for their band photos and get away with it. Why? Because their attire has a direct relation to their chosen persona and suits their chosen musical artistry. It may come off as pretentious, over the top, and somewhat strange, however, it has a direct relation to their music and serves to enhance their bizarre soundscapes. "Becoming The Achetype," which will hereby be refered to as BTA, cannot get away with this. Their attire has nothing to do with their chosen genre-Ultra Generic Douche Metal- and doesn't serve to elevate their sound in any way, nor does it create a sense of wonder in the viewer/listener. It merely comes off as douchism. Prententious, over the top, and unnecessary it certianly is, yet, the photo will instantly create a sense of dislike towards them from listeners outside of their fan base. I say that they're are trying to convince listeners and themselves that they are unique, however, considering that there are thousands of people who have already done this before them, and will continue to this after they dissolve, it's simply a douche move.
Secondly-production. The vocals are mixed WAY too high in their sound to the point that it becomes, at more times than some, difficult to hear the music being played outside of the vocals. I have 200$ Skullcandies, they are some of the best headphones in the business (my favs,) and yet, it was difficult to grasp what was being played-even at high volumes. For a band playing supposedly playing "Technical Death/Metalcore," this is unacceptable. The vocals should be at a smaller priority for such a genre, as while I certainly love good vocal work, I listen to this genre for the music as a first. I want to be impressed by musicianship. As it stands, their music is sub-par, since I must strain myself to hear it and analyze it. If i wanted to hear a deep,booming voice scream in my ear with bits a of noise interspersed in the background, I'd visit my ex--gf's parents. The sound of her father screaming at me unintelligbly while her mother cries and throws knives, forks and other various sorts of cutlery is the musical equivalent to "I Am."
Thirdly-Music. Again, this complaint is rather similar to my second point, however I will whine about it differently. The vocals are used TOO MUCH. The vocalist sings (screams, growls) at nearly every second of this short record. I gather that the musicians are rather talented, so, why don't they take some time to let their instruments play without the somewhat bothersome vocals? It doesn't need to be at Prog lengths, but a nice little guitar solo here, a little taste of a guitar riff there, would have done wonders for this douche record. Ah! They are trying to be more mainstream, I argue. Mainstream listeners appreciate vocals more than music, while music fans are somewhat vice-versa (we tend to look at the whole package,) and for music fans, it's a let down. For mainstream fans, I feel the generic grunts and screams won't do much to impress you. Their vocalist, sadly, is without any unique qualities, and for a record that is focusing on energetic, brutal screaming/growling, it's total douche as their new vocalist possesses none of these attributes.
Fourthly-Tedium/mediocrity. I'm certainly impressed by this band-but for the wrong reasons. All of their tracks have a very short running time, and yet somehow, they manage to seem MUCH LONGER! My, my, my, it seems BTA is able to manipulate the space-time continuum and add several extra minutes to my day.
Because there's nothing much happening in their songs. They all begin the same way, progress in the same fashion, and end the same way. At one point, a track had ended and I had no idea the album had proceeded to its next track. Ah, clever BTA, fooling me like that. SHAME ON YOU, YOU JOKSTERS. Making every track sound completely identical and throwing me for a loop. Oh, you are bad douche bags.
I'm also impressed by the sheer "averageness" of the album. Usually, when we listen to an album, we listen with a margin line. At times, even with mediocre music, the margin line increases slightly, and we think to ourselves "That was kind of neat," and at times it dips and we exclaim to passerbys, "Wow, that was kind of bad," but NO!!!! NOT BTA!!! They somehow manage to stay comfortably in the middle of the margin during the entire running time. I haven't encountered a single album that manages to capture mediocrity in such a pure state, but BTA has done it! Perfection in mediocrity. Nothing happens in the songs. I've heard these riffs, song structures, vocals, soundpack keyboards and drumming. There's nothing special about this music, contradictory to what they'd like you to believe from their awful band photo. Not even having a Jonah Hill look-a-like amongst their mediocre ranks can change that.
I believe the best term to describe the entire record would be-"ho-hum."
BTA's "I Am," reminds me of one those girls. You know the one. The one who dress with flashy, unusual clothes. She wears big-black framed glasses. She speaks at a higher intellect than most other girls and many men think she's very attractive-but you don't understand why. You can see past her stupid ***ing glasses, and her strange clothing. You can see her for what she really is. A big, ***ing douche trying to fool others and herself into thinking that she's special, when in reality, after we strip all that flashiness away from her, she is in the end, just another douche girl who looks like Jonah Hill.