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The Breathing Process - "Odyssey: (Un)Dead" (CD)

The Breathing Process - "Odyssey: (Un)Dead" CD cover image

"Odyssey: (Un)Dead" track listing:

1. Hours
2. Grimoire
3. Leveler
4. Vultures
5. Pantheon Unraveling
6. Starless Eternal
7. Odyssey (Un)Dead
8. Metamorphosis
9. Hordes
10. The Living Forest
11. Wind Ritual
12. The Opaque Forest
13. Decaying (Form)

Reviewed by on October 20, 2010

"'Odyssey (Un)Dead' is a pretty solid release with just a few minor glitches, which don't detract much from the album in general. "

The Breathing Process is a band from my home state of Connecticut that have been around since 2003, but only released their first album a couple of years ago. "In Waking: Divinity" was a pretty stellar first release, showcasing prolific deathcore with a precision one usually only sees after a band has a few discs under their belt. With such blasts of energy as "The Harvesting" and "Dear Antigone," I knew they would garner a devout following in no time.

Their highly anticipated new release, "Odyssey (Un)Dead," would show whether they would once again deliver or be plagued by the sophomore status that can befall a band when they have to live up to a very good first release. On this one, they put out adroitly. Like the first album, this one has the same spastic cadence. The vocals and riffs are delivered with the same furor and pace as a strobe light.

"Odyssey (Un)Dead" also utilizes the 'misanthrope in exile' theme to tie the songs together and introduce more black metal sound elements. A tone of barren ambience is evoked throughout, especially on "The Living Forest." This track is the most symphonic, fusing keyboards and furious riffing into a wall of sound. The Breathing Process is known for their flourishes of atmospheric metal melded with breakneck death thrashing, "Pantheon Unraveling" being the paradigm of this choppy rhythmic style. When they truly combine well that theater of symphony with the chaotic thrash in "Decaying (Form)," it is like a pit bull grabbing a hold of your neck and refusing to let go. Even the instrumentals and interludes, such as "Wind Ritual," have a nice creepy feel to them.

They have expanded on their previous record by including more musical influences into their new songs. "Vultures" is imbued with a diatribe between John LaFreniere's caterwauling and Sara Loerlein's backing chant, giving the song a desolate feel. I must note that Nikolas Tormentahl is one sick drummer, putting forth riffs as fast and loud as vintage Morbid Angel. Their material is more harnessed in controlled speed than before to allow more black metal elements to shine through.

The prevalence of more keyboards is immediately discernible on this release. When a few notes are added here and there, the effect is lost and they sound haphazard. That is the problem in some of the songs. However, when employed proficiently as in the title track, they counterbalance the tune nicely. "The Living Forest" also benefits from keyboards that sound like they actually belong there, enhancing the song and not just added as an afterthought. The production by Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage) achieves a good aural level where the guitars and vocals truly shred at an optimum, but occasionally layer the keyboards and other instruments at sound levels that are dissonant. Songs like "Hordes" show this tendency, which causes the overall sound to lose its chief effect.

"Odyssey (Un)Dead" is a pretty solid release with just a few minor glitches, which don't detract much from the album in general. The Breathing Process is one of the more interesting bands to watch in the underground metal scene. Their fusion of deathcore with elements of symphonic black metal is fairly accomplished and energetic.

Highs: A level of energy and precision that seldoms lets up.

Lows: Keyboard segments that could be better expanded upon.

Bottom line: "Odyssey: (Un)Dead" will definitely earn them even more of a listenership.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)