Review Summary: Progressive death metal made accessible
Becoming The Archetype receives only a slim portion of their rightly deserved attention. Whether this is a result of their openly professed religious orientation or their tendency to significantly shift styles on most releases is debatable. They have remained in a more hidden corner of metal music since their inception, despite garnering a fanbase that has remained quite devoted to their work. The technical skill of the musicians in Becoming The Archetype is hardly arguable; however, there are many opposing viewpoints regarding the quality of their songcraft, and the originality of their music in general. Dichotomy
should be more than enough to silence the naysayers, providing the listener with a journey -- albeit a spiritual one -- through various subgenres of heavy and lighter music alike.
Upon listening to the first seconds of opening track, “Mountain Of Souls”, it is abundantly clear that Devin Townsend is manning the production of Dichotomy
. Stylistically, the music is distant from that of Strapping Young Lad and Devin's solo work, but the use of seemingly cheesy synthesized string patches is not far from what is heard on releases like The New Black
. Cheesy is not always a negative though. In this case, the synth serves well in its accentuation of the “epic” descending guitar chords. This type of thing is repeated in other instances throughout the album, such as the extremely effective brass overlay on the breakdown in End Of The Age. Becoming The Archetype are very tasteful in the use of certain musical tricks, and rarely become repetitive or rely on a single gimmick to communicate their intended purpose.
The song lengths on Dichotomy
can be somewhat striking to fans of other music in this genre. It is not uncommon for progressive music to exceed the ten minute mark, with some stretching for the greater portion of an hour. Disregarding the last track and fourteen seconds of the first, all of the songs here are very concise, remaining under five minutes. Becoming The Archetype never reach the level of self gratification in their displays of technicality. Every section is written with the purpose of the respective song in mind, with little to no instrumental excess to be found on the album. This is what separates Becoming The Archetype from many other like bands: they write with the greater goal of the music in mind, not the ability of the various individuals. There is seldom a boring moment to be found on Dichotomy
The modern metal scene suffers from a particularly annoying dilemma: the riffs often do little to distinguish themselves and become memorable in the long run. It is hard to praise an album when none of the music is able to be recalled after multiple listens. On Dichotomy
however, this is not the case with many of the songs. The breakdown in Artificial Immortality (“I AM A BEAST”) is not apt to be forgotten anytime soon, nor is the opening riff in the superb rendition of the hymn “How Great Thou Art”. Once properly digested, the music proves to be as unforgettable as many exalted classics in the genre. This is not to say that every note on the album is instantly momentous, as there are definitely parts that are pretty forgettable. Nonetheless, these parts pale in comparison to the number of extraordinarily catchy riffs and tasteful guitar solos.
, Becoming The Archetype have crafted their most well-rounded and energetic release to date. The album covers a vast spectrum of sounds, with traces of everything from jazz to symphonic black metal, all the while retaining a sense of continuity and consistency. This is a seriously commendable accomplishment, if only for the pure accessibility of the material. Amidst the myriad of monotonous tripe currently filling Christian music bookshelves, Becoming The Archetype stand out as one of the few demonstrating actual passion and conviction, and make some damn good metal while they're at it.