The debut album by Baltimore-based (and laughably named) Christian metalcore act I The Breather plays by the rules of its genre, only rarely coloring outside the lines. Vocalist Shawn Spann shreds his throat while guitarists Jered Youngbar and Justin Huffman carve out thrashy, downtuned riffs and squealy, tech-death solos. Bassist Armand Vincent and drummer Morgan Wright lock in tight, propelling the fast songs forward and, on the slow instrumental interlude “Empathy,” demonstrating their ability to maintain intensity even at a crawl. But it’s pit-starting crunch-fests like “Crown Me King,” “High Rise” and “Doomsday” where the band do their best work. Spann is a forceful frontman, with the hoarse roar of a dude twice his age and double his weight. His bandmates work together well; they’re a tight unit, and the mix allows their interplay to be clearly heard in fine ultra-clean metal tradition. Maybe best of all, their lyrical message is subtle enough to slip past nonbelievers who just wanna headbang.
Click here to add a video. Click to add lyrics if not listed.