Thousand Foot Krutch joined the ever popular movement of veteran bands going independent with their last album. The End is Where We Begin was a bit of a mixed bag that featured some really enjoyable songs and some others that unnecessarily flashed back to the rap/rock days of Set it Off. OXYGEN:INHALE is somewhat of an improvement, but faces another set of challenges altogether. This is a record that is solid musically but suffers greatly with imbalance.
"Like A Machine" opens the album up with the kind of rocking anthem you'd expect from TFK. It's a good start and is followed up with another solid track in "Untraveled Road," which sounds similar to -- especially in the verse -- to Linkin Park's "Bleed it Out." The rock-fest continues with "Born This Way" and features a groove that will surely have you bobbing your head. The first softer song hits with the pop/rock tinged "Set Me on Fire," but quickly gives way to a harder edge again with an album best in "Give it to Me." "I See Red" is the final rock song on this 10 track album. If you've been keeping track, this means that the final 4 tunes are softer acoustic, piano, or clean electric guitar based songs; thus the problem with imbalance. OXYGEN:INHALE suckers you in with hard rock on the front side, but then lulls you to sleep with much softer songs on the back-end.
Subsequent listens also reveal some other issues. At several times throughout the album the themes found, and even lyrics at times, remind you of other songs. Some examples would be "Like a Machine" with Red's "Feed the Machine;" "I See Red" with Chevelle's "The Red;" or "Born This Way," unfortunately, with Lady Gaga's tune of the same title. These songs obviously don't carry the same exact message, although "I See Red" is really close, but, the themes just feel like they've been done before -- and in some cases done better. Possibly the weakest track is the love song "Light Up." Normally Trevor's occasional falsetto is a selling factor for me, but this particular song is so overloaded with falsetto it becomes overbearing. "Glow" also suffers a bit from this problem as well.
OXYGEN:INHALE isn't a bad record, but sadly it loses some value with each play. Listening to the album on shuffle may be the best option to give you a better mix of the harder and softer music present. With some gems like "Untraveled Road," "Set Me on Fire," "Give it to Me," and even "In My Room," the album is worth a listen or two, but its unfortunate layout makes it more difficult to listen to as a whole than some of TFK's previous works. It appears that the guys are still exploring their relatively new freedom from a record label, but haven't quite put their finger on it yet. Hopefully album number three from the post-label Thousand Foot Krutch will be a homerun.- Review date: 8/23/14, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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