In the Silence of the Mind: February 28th, 2017
It’s 2:00 AM on the drive between Ohio and Oklahoma and I find myself listening for perhaps the 99th time to what may just be the most perfect heavy metal experience ever pressed onto digital waveform.
As unconventional as it is, this album simply should not work as well as it does. As individual parts, there are just so many disparate elements.
In one moment the soundscape cascades with the mechanizations of soulless machines, in another the symphony of angelic choirs. In the expanse of a single moment you feel the craftsmanship of delicate hands playing softly on a pristine piano while being accompanied by worn and bleeding hands shredding angrily on a splintered guitar.
One moment features an almost aromatic Eastern palate of exotic sounds, another the raw brutality of strained vocals destined to make the throat bleed, and still another a breakdown infused entirely with well-worn ska (featuring the blasting brass of Five Iron Frenzy, no less!).
For all its collective greatness, certain individual tracks may not hold up on their own as well as others.
While certain songs could be removed from the experience and wholly enjoyed individually, other tracks feel completely bereft when disjointed from their sonic siblings. Some moments of plucking strings feel entirely complete on their own, while certain moments of pounding drums cannot be fully enjoyed without the benefit of the preceding or following tracks.
Some songs are so powerful they do not seem to need the acoustical accompaniment of those songs that surround them. By themselves, they could stand as powerful and expert treatises of heavy metal grandeur. Yet, every track, yes even every moment of every track is complexly and unquestionably tied to the whole in ways that become completely and utterly indivisible one from another.
Certain songs seems to meander around a written or acoustic aspect of the whole, while others dive headlong into the overall theme with abandon, cutting, as it were, directly to the quick.
One track seems to encompass the very expanse of the stars themselves, another is so intimate you can feel it on your breath.
Even the inspirations behind the album are wildly varied.
Prose inspired by The Space Trilogy from revered professor and author C. S. Lewis, often cited as the most influential theologian of the last century, sits paradoxically alongside musical inspirations from “Weird Al” Yankovic, often cited as the world’s foremost comedic parody artist.
Where some albums follow investment philosophy and diversify themselves amongst many and varied themes to ensure the listener’s interest remains piqued throughout, this album unashamedly is laser focused on one and only one theme from start to finish. And that, what many feel to be an outdated topic, the orthodoxy and orthopraxis of eschatology; that is, the study of last things.
And yet, whether in spite of or masterfully because of all of this chaotic harmony, I return to my premise that Celestial Completion by Becoming the Archetype is perhaps the most perfect heavy album known to mankind at this exact moment in space-time.
It may not be on many people’s radars as such, but after several years and many dozens of listens from start to finish, I cannot say that I have found its equal.
P.S. – Not only is the album itself nearly unparalleled, but the music video to the track “The Magnetic Sky” is a low-budget masterpiece in and of itself.
P.P.S. – Former (and future?) Becoming the Archetype frontman Jason Wisdom’s newest project Death Therapy is out now wherever music is streamed. We recently reviewed The Storm Before the Calm, noting that it may be one of the best albums of 2017 so far.