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Becoming the Archetype - The Physics of Fire CD (album) cover

THE PHYSICS OF FIRE

Becoming the Archetype

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.80 | 12 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'The Physics Of Fire' - Becoming The Archetype (6/10)

Considered by some to be this Atlanta-based metalcore act's greatest achievement thus far, Becoming The Archetype pulls out their technical and melodic brand of metal once again with their second album, 'The Physics Of Fire'. A sound similar to fellow US east coasters Trivium, the band has since come to be known for their overtly proggy take on metalcore, instrumental proficiency, as well as their Christian lyrical themes. Any precedent or previously held conception of the band aside however, 'The Physics Of Fire' does show a band that can easily stand their ground when it comes to their skills as performing musicians, but the album as a whole is held back by a rather derivative prog metal cheesiness and a somewhat superficial approach to songwriting that feels as if it may favour flash over substance.

'The Epoch Of War' opens 'The Physics Of Fire' on a note that seems all too traditional for the prog metal genre; a symphonic introduction followed by some anthemic metal riffs and then finally succumbing to some thrashy goodness. On their own, each aspect is done very well; melodic guitar licks blistering overtop some synth ambiance get the technical aspects of recording music down to a fine tune. However, especially for the metal fan out there that has heard a build up of intensity along these lines before, it is difficult to take Becoming The Archetype's music entirely seriously, when it's clear that their progressive leanings are leaning on top of conventions set in place even almost a decade before 'The Physics Of Fire' was released. Throughout the album though, there are always moments that seek to really give some sort of promise; passages that hint at the great potential that Becoming The Archetype could have if they shed their voracious attachment to their influences. Among these are some jazz guitar sections, as heard on the second track 'Immolation' or 'The Monolith', which are always a nice break from the rather over-the-top metal sections.

In terms of songwriting, many of the ideas here are excellent, but the band does have a bad habit of taking the very best that 'The Physics Of Fire' has to offer and cuts them short as soon as they are ready to create a real 'wow' moment. Moreover, while there are riffs and short passages that instantly impress in virtually every track, the way in which these ideas are put together in the structure of the song is rarely complimentary, either sounding generic (as was the case with the opener) or simply weak. An example of this is where the music breaks down into a jazzy melodic section with clean vocals halfway through 'The Monolith', and just as the vocal melody begins to pick up the pace, it abruptly segues into a conventional metalcore section, leaving the listener to wonder why Becoming The Archetype would have not chosen to develop some of the ideas here more fully, instead of trying to throw as many lesser concepts into each song as possible.

Becoming The Archetype are certainly a pretentious bunch of prog metallers, although their firm grasp of musicianship and chemistry as a band cannot be denied. 'The Physics Of Fire' is a fine album that could have been great, had the album been somewhat filtered, and had the better things heard here been focused on more than merely crowding the sound with a thousand riffs that often feel like they do not connect with each other, or go in any particular direction. A good second album from this band, even if it may not be reflective of their obvious potential as a band.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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