Album Review :
I The Breather - Truth & Purpose

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Artist: I The Breather

Album: Truth & Purpose

Record Label: Sumerian Records

Release Date: February 28th, 2012

  1. False Prophet
  2. The “Beginning”
  3. Bruised & Broken
  4. Mentalist
  5. Meaning
  6. Lunar
  7. Knights & Pawns
  8. Judgement
  9. Rephraim
  10. 4/12/11

Indie Vision Music may be the most helpful when it comes to finding out about new bands. I remember first visiting this webpage a couple of years ago and notice that a lot of the bands covered are not the typical mainstream Solid State and Tooth and Nail bands but the up and coming bands.  I can say that IVM is responsible for my discovering the band I The Breather.  When I picked up “These Are My Sins” I admit I was impressed.  Not saying it was the most original album out there but you can see the potential of the band for future albums.  The blend of Oh, Sleeper and August Burns Red riffs and technical rhythmic breakdowns and screeching screams left me wanting more.  With “Truth & Purpose”, follow up album to “These Are My Sins”, You get the a lot of the same formula that made “These Are My Sins” a good album and add even more technicality and even clean vocal melodies to fill what was missing from their debut.

First thing first, I The Breather as a band are tight. I do not mean tight as in cool but tight as in musicianship. Everything on “Truth & Purpose” is clean and well put together musically. For the most part the drums, as done by Morgan Wright, are in the pocket but they keep things alive. The kick is precise with every single chug of the guitar. Every quarter note triplet, eighth note triplet and sixteenth part is hit perfectly with kick drum while coordinating cymbal and snare hits in their special places.  Nothing to fancy, but the job gets done.

My opinion on why the drums stay in the pocket for the most part of the album, and the band or whoever reads this can disagree with me, is because at certain spots the guitars are what jump in and out of the pocket. Not so much rhythmically but certain leads and riffs that are done. Rhythmic breakdowns on songs like “Mentalist”, “Meaning”, and “Bruised and Broken” give the guitars the impression of playing in an odd time signature and the drums need to stay in the pocket to assure the listener that they are staying true to a certain count.

For all the destruction I The Breather does to the theory of musical rhythm, the vocals need to be spot on. With every hit the vocals need to be on top of the heavy hits and have a flow. Shawn Spann may not have the most range as a screamer, but he has a heavy scream and is able to take control of the music admist the sometimes chaos of djent guitar lines and double kick. His scream, at times, has a Micah Kinard sound, which is awesome up until you find out that Micah did guest vocals on “Mentalist”. The screams kind of blend together so there is not much change in tone or clarity. Shawn changes it up on this record with some clean singing, one thing that we did not get on “These Are My Sins”. The melody lines are not the strongest but they serve a purpose to give the listener a break from constant screaming.

Overall: “Truth & Purpose” is a difficult album for me to score.  On one hand, it is a good album and on the other it is just average.  The production is magnificent and the musicianship as well. For a band with talented musicians the songs and formats are average. They did improve from “These Are My Sins” in regards to putting more thought into the beats per minute and time signature. Not all of the songs blend together as much as they did on the previous album but there are not to many things that stand out like the song “Mentalist” does in my mind. Counting the intro to be honest hurts my brain. If you are one that listens for a message then this is a great album for you. All the songs are aimed for the lowly and hard lived people that are looked down upon and kicked to the gutter. A compelling album if that is what you look for in an album.

RIYL: Oh Sleeper and August Burns Red