Shamefully, Becoming The Archetype are probably not a band you will have heard of. Most likely they will never be as hyped as Mastodon, tour with Slayer or gain a place on the main stage at Donington.
However, as the first band who have ever evoked an audible cry of appreciation from me while providing the soundtrack for my commute to work, Becoming The Archetype will – if there is any justice – smash all your preconceptions.
The opening March Of The Dead gives the impression of a heavy metal Phantom Of The Opera introduction before Into Oblivion enters to become six minutes of the most progressive, diverse, genre-defying metal that has hit the shelves since some bright spark realised that Opeth were quite good.
Combining ethereal, reverb-laden classical guitar licks with brutal, crushing riffs that will destroy your speakers, this track descends into two minutes of screeching, wailing solos backed by battering double bass blasts and fearsomely swift blast beats courtesy of one Mr Brent Duckett (read Dave Lombardo v2.0).
Next track One Man Parade laughs in the face of farcical acts like Deicide who invest so much time dropping the octave pitch on their comical vocals. Such bands could only be left in open-mouthed awe at the musical enchantment that is supplied here.
Once again the rough is intertwined seamlessly with patterns of smoother open ringing chords and melodic instrumental breaks, only to return many kick blasts later to a half-time beat-down so damaging that even Hatebreed‘s Jamie Jasta might flee the pit in terror. Lace this already devastating combination with a bass solo and fret loads more lead work and the result is one of the most comprehensive metal numbers of the millennium thus far.
As formidable as the opening tracks may be, Terminate Damnation truly comes into its own when one realises that the fourth track doesn’t stray anywhere near the ‘alt-radio single’ territory you were so anxiously fearing. In fact, if possible things only get heavier as Elegy, which clocks in at over 11 minutes, shapes up as the death metal Bohemian Rhapsody of the 21st century.
After the opening five minutes onslaught leaves you gasping for air, the staccato bridge and spiralling solo work take no prisoners in their raw aggression prior to beign stripped down to a haunting piano piece. This gradually gathers momentum before the track climaxes in much more familiar ear-bashing territory.
Night’s Sorrow may have the less patient, narrower-minded metal-head nodding off, but the more catholic music fan will revel in the haunting acoustic melodies, which provide a moment’s rest and reflection before the continued barrage of aggression that resume with the synth-led tones of The Epigone.
Ex Nihilo is a furiously speeding bullet indirectly aimed at Charles Darwin’s head, while the complex structure of Trivial Paroxysm will send Matt Heavy and the Trivium boys running straight back to school.
Although it may take a major label deal to see Becoming The Archetype break on through to mainstream metal’s consciousness, the fact remains that Terminate Damnation is sheer determination and musical genius united into 55 minutes of unutterably brilliant music. Categorically the debut album of the year.