ALBUM REVIEW – “Life Reaper” by I, The Breather

I, The Breather showed a lot of potential with their first couple records, both albums were solidly produced and written, but unfortunately couldn’t really provide anything to make ITB stand out. If anything they merely showed a group that was just a little too enamored with their genre peers for their own good. There were flashes of what the band was capable of here and there, but it was nevertheless lost in a somewhat scattered sense of direction and repetitiveness.

 ITB still, despite all this, shot from the hometown stage to touring internationally in an incredibly short span. After signing to Sumerian Records in 2010, they quickly became one of the labels most popular bands. The metal community’s resident skeptics then patiently waited for the band to fully utilize their talent and have some sort of breakthrough album. It would be a mistake to say that Life Reaper was not “supposed” to be that album, but it is just as much a mistake to say this album lives up to expectations.

Once again ITB bring their full creative capabilities in sections and chunks of songs, putting together parts of a record that are actually quite spectacular. The dark and sludgy closing section of “Soul:Seek”, the tense prechorus in the second verse of “Self: Restore” (and the awesome choruses), the intro to “Identity:Crisis”, almost every song has a singular gem contained within it. If anything the band needs to step away from the For Today and Texas In July records and just let themselves write their own music.  If the band would just be willing to deviate from the genre (or the record label) formula imposed on them, these moments would be able to stretch out into a full record.

The choruses sound much the same throughout, giving off a very The Word Alive-esque vibe, the breakdowns are either generic or convoluted to the point of being contrived.  Splitting the difference are the verses that veer between brilliant and The Color Morale Ripoffs. Overall ITB seem almost afraid to break out of their box and write what they should be writing instead of merely fulfilling expectations. At this point such stagnation could possibly be attributed to the amount of time the band has spent in metalcore, but that is a debate for another article.

It is extremely rare to see, but sometimes it is possible for a band to take tropes of the modern metalcore genre-namely the persistent breakdowns and overbearing aggression-and use their sense of technical skill or creativity to shape them into something that can be considered musical. This Or The Apocalypse accomplished this with gusto when they released the phenomenal Dead Years in 2012. I, The Breather come close with Life Reaper, but just like the two records prior, there is just a little too much potential and not enough real content to allow the album to move the band forward.  The real question that now arises is that even if I, The Breather learns from their mistakes and has an outstanding fourth record, will it be enough to put the band on the map, after all this time?

6/10

Max Robison

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One Comment on “ALBUM REVIEW – “Life Reaper” by I, The Breather”

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