Somebody in Atlanta must have broken a seal or blown a heraldic trumpet, because a new metal band just came screaming onto the scene like an Apocalyptic asteroid. Becoming the Archetype, a quintet lead by bassist/vocalist Jason Wisdom, is a metal (excuse the cliché (and the parenthetical)) tour de force that brings back the epic metal instrumental anthem.
These guys have got chops. The primary example is "Night's Sorrow,' a classical guitar instrumental that is beautifully arranged and performed and had me searching for a 'performed by Phil Keaggy' credit in the liner notes. The album, Terminate Damnation, is a treasure trove of blastbeats, grindcore, death and chug-chug riffage liberally woven with skillful leads and instrumentals that include guitars, piano and keys. Oddly and appropriately enough, the album was mixed in Denmark by the soon-to-be-legendary Tue Madsen at Antfarm studios. Odd because the band is from Georgia, appropriate because the influence of Danish and Nordic metal bands is clear from the band's distinct yet (look a pun ') archetypical sound.
But more about the music: Yes, they've got the requisite fast beats, roaring distortion, screams, snarls, growls, etc., that make a metal band a metal band these days, but they've got an emotional edge that shows through. An emotion other than rage, that is. Granted, rage does kick in the door and redecorate the living room with bullets many times on this one, but songs like "Elegy," an 11 minute magnum opus, and the aforementioned "Night's Sorrow" (one of the most beautiful classical guitar pieces I've ever heard) are so full of passionate energy, one almost forgets that one is listening to a brutal hardcore band. And before you ask: Yes, redecorating is a form of rage. Just ask Hildi.
Honestly, the music tells the tale more than the words, which are relatively few in comparison to the expansive songs. Lyrically, the band is simple with common themes of failure, forgiveness, judgment, et cetera, and one is almost tempted to say "Who cares!" because the music is just so darn good. They do win an award for most vocabulary words in song titles however, and I include definitions below for the linguistically impaired. Having said that, man can these guys find their way around a fretboard! Licks go from melodically beautiful to dissonant, key-shifting experiments in oddity, to blazing fast leads of bleeps and bloops that sound like a room full of chimpanzees all playing Q*Bert at once.
Also, the album art, a mural by a D. Seagreave (on whom Google.com had no hits for) is awesome. It has nothing to do with the quality of the music, but good album covers go a long way.
Before a final instrumental, Terminate Damnation ends with the heart of a warrior-poet: "The time has come/ arise from death/ victory is close at hand/ take up the sword and follow me/ out of nothing into a new creation." If I am forced to criticize (which I assuredly am), I could say that going with a very typical sound style and mixing could have hurt a band that belongs to a very common genre as Becoming the Archetype, but because of their technical prowess and musical skill, they come out ahead with a strong first release that establishes them as a band with staying power.
The Terminate Damnation Glossary for the Metal Vocabulary Impaired:
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