becoming the archetype - celestial completion

Rumination on the Most Perfect Heavy Album Ever

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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.

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Ian DeVaney
March 2, 2017 8:14 am

I haven’t listened to the whole album yet, but honestly, from a cursory listen to a couple songs I can’t say that it does anything more for me than other solid Christian Metal artists like ABR or Demon Hunter.
For best Christian Metal album of all time, I would probably go with something from Extol.

March 2, 2017 8:14 pm
Reply to  Ian DeVaney

Undeceived? ;)

Mark K
March 3, 2017 7:03 am
Reply to  Ian DeVaney

You know this may be completely off the norm but as a huge fan of Extol’s first three Burial, Undeceived and Synergy when the self-titled came out I wasn’t sure what was going to come of it. I didn’t care Blueprint Dives and was pretty uneasy after Believer came back with some medium quality material (my historic favorite CM band ). Admittedly it’s pretty different in some significant ways from all their old material. However, it exceeded all my expectations and blew me away in the best possible way with all the new elements. I actually find that Extol’s self… Read more »

March 4, 2017 9:33 pm
Reply to  Mark K

Hmm, that’s interesting. I wish I could get into the self titled album more … Undeceived is at the top for me and I think there’s some great stuff on The Blueprint Dives (Another Adam’s Escape).

March 1, 2017 4:26 pm

I was at a conference in LA in December of 2010 and decided to see BTA and LS play at Chain Reaction one night. Got there early and ran into Jason, who proceeded to pull out his iPod and ask if I wanted to listen to some new music. Showed me and another guy a couple of the songs from the album before it would officially come out. I still remember his excitement as he discussed all of the diverse instrumentation throughout the album: “we have a friend who does operatic vocals…so we added her…and a friend who plays sitar…added… Read more »

March 1, 2017 3:53 pm

This is definitely one of the most underrated metal albums of all time. It’s in my top 5 all-time.

March 1, 2017 10:38 am

While this is certainly not the most “perfect” heavy album…it’s still a fantastic representation of what the genre is capable of and one that I need to re-explore again.

Mark K
February 28, 2017 7:07 pm

Solid album. Some incredible songs here. I agree with how well the diverse influences work. Cardiac Rebellion is still amazing! Reflect/Refract is my favorite track. Would have loved to see the band perform this. When they toured the album Jason and Duck were already gone. I honestly thought it was a cover band until I recognized Seth. I was horribly disappointed honestly.

Dichotomy is still my favorite BTA and is probably a top 10 album. This could make a top 30 though.

Derek O.
March 1, 2017 6:02 am
Reply to  Mark K

Agreed. Dichotomy is their best work in my opinion as well.

March 1, 2017 1:28 pm
Reply to  Derek O.

I also agree on Dichotomy.

Lucas Hipólito
September 27, 2018 1:09 pm
Reply to  Derek O.

I still think The Physics of Fire is so perfect that there is no way it isn’t their best. But then I remember Terminate Damnation and almost cry with its perfectness, and then listen to Dichotomy again and well now I can’t decide, for me all first three albuns are their best, with “I Am” and “Celestial Completion” coming in second haha

February 28, 2017 6:11 pm

I remember the first time I heard Cardiac Rebellion and being so confused. Such a great album!

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