I AM is easily one of the most anticipated and heavy-hitting Christian metal albums of the year, and this beast devours the death metal scene in fine fashion, while keeping to that melodic touch, poetic streak and God-praising intricacy that Becoming the Archetype is known for. Striking a homerun, I AM scores in all the areas that matter.
It is extremely heavy, deep growl-infused, clean-vocal singing prone when it matters, and shines through with lyrics that any other band would kill for.
Like albums past, the spotlight is on our Lord at all times, and Christian meatlheads will NOT go away empty handed. No, they will be headbanging down the street and into next year with this killer. The lyrics, I’m extremely happy to say, are the definite high-point in what is overall an incredible album from beginning to end. The intellectual meat is very thick on these bones. Just how BtA fans like it!
Now for the song-by-song breakdown, with my individual song reviews as I listened to them for the first time.
Song #1: The Ocean Walker
I’m the type who loves albums to start off with a BANG. As such, this song left something to be desired. Even so, it is quite a beautiful piece, and thus it is suitable as an album opener if this is the type of song you dig. I am not a fan of the sung vocal style here, but it works fine. I think “Time Bender” would’ve been better placed in this spot as the album opener (it being the only song I heard pre-review copy), then again, Ocean Walker transitions nicely into Time Bender. Overall this a good song, but after listening to it as the first track, I feel like it (hopefully) is one of the weaker ones… [Ed note: And I was right in that assumption!]
Song #2: The Time Bender
Now this is IT! This song is flat out awesome in every single way possible. It not only melts the brain with awesomeness, but it gives you potent, intellectual words to chew on. Words that will stay with you long after the song has ended. Lines like, “I have seen you breath your last” and “I am holding your beating heart” are absolutely genius. This song is a winner and a AAA beast of as song. This song is the “Artificial Immortality” of I AM and this song proves that I AM delivers with exaclty what you want from Becoming the Archetype. You will NOT miss Jason Wisdom for one second after hearing this BtA masterpiece…. I love the guy, but this new vocalist Chris Heaton (formerly of Knoxville, TN based hardcore band “Dear Lovely”) has stepped properly into his shoes and filled them snugly. Buy this song!
Song #3: The Eyes of the Storm
Hol-y CRAP. That is my reaction after hearing this song. In true Becoming the Archetype fashion, this song is full of POWER. And the lyrics speak to God’s ability to both create and utterly destroy. But where many Christian metal bands would leave it at that… BtA takes the listener to the green on the other side of the pasture by telling them exactly WHY and for WHAT PURPOSE destruction is allowed by the triune Godhead. “To make your weak hearts quiver. To make you tremble. To create in you a sense of fear. To open your eyes to desperation.” Powerful stuff, and an equally awesome song to go along with it. This song is a definite winner and a heavy beast of a track.
Song #4: The Sky Bearer
*huff huff huff* Things keep getting better as we transition to this epic piece known as “The Sky Bearer”. The equally badass name is fitting, as this song has some flat out incredible lines. This song also features the first true solo on the album along with a powerful section of singing vocals that really put on the emotion and it is performed quite beautifully, especially once the heaviness kicks back in and the guitar really revvs up at just the right moment. Even still, I can’t help but feel that they could’ve done better on the clean vocals, just not a fan of this type of singing overall…. But I digress, it’s great for what it is and I can’t knock it. Singing in metal is often hit or miss, and I’d say this was a hit. The Sky Bearer really hammers home exactly how powerful our God is, whose might is beyond our wildest imaginings. And the lines truly give me chills. “I carried the sky on My back. All of the world had turned black. And stared into the mouth of Hell.” It doens’t get more epic! Overall, awesome song.
Song #5: The Machine Killer
Now THIS was unexpected. I was literally hit by a blast of shock as the first piano keys played, as I was expecting some of roughest metal headbanging to take place in a song with the title “The Machine Killer”… and didn’t notice the words “Instrumental” until the song started playing. I was literally picturing Terminator 2′s opening future with giant tank-tredding robots crushing skulls…. ahem. As such, that reality left me a bit wanting, until the final note of this very cool instrumental flipped the frown upside down. This is a great, beautiful, somewhat haunting little piece. It’s not overly complex, but hits all the right notes. A great track. I just miss my metal…. I think BtA should release a bonus full non-instrumental song version of this track just to give us music that REALLY suits the song title! Music that Arnold would be happy to kill to! *clears throat again* Moving on…
Song #6: The War Ender
I am done. DONE.
This song is all you need to listen to on this album and YOU WILL BUY IT.
This monster track absolutely kills in every way, shape and form. 10+++++ = 15 out of 10!
Like a double-edged sword, the lyrics cut to your very soul and leave you gasping for breath. So poignant and so powerful are the words to this song, that you’ll want to share it with everyone you come into contact with as soon as the final note plays. This song is absolute power, beautiful poetry, death, destruction, life and resurrection, all rolled into one. Color me blown away. I believe a song this amazing cannot be topped… BUY IT NOW!
Song #7: The Weapon Breaker
The middle of this song is absoloutely glorious. Just glorious. The song is a true death metaler unlike anything you’ve seen before from BtA (erm, well….). It’s brutal and yet slow in vocal style (except when it’s fast…. natch). “War Ender” also contains some badass lyrics: “The scars of your lives. And the sounds of your cries. Destruction/Obliteration.” I don’t really like the way this song ends however. And I’m not a big fan of the “All these shall see their…. end” sections, with the long drawn out pause before the word “end”. Even though it makes sense, it just kind of comes off as weak without the PUNCH that I feel was needed. This song is okay but not the best on the album I feel. But, even so, overall this is a great song, brutal and heavy as heck, just not quite up to the level of “The War Ender”. Which I feel is definitley the top, best song on the album so far (we shall see…). This song is among my least favorites, alongside “Ocean Walker”.
Song #8: The Planet Maker
Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Like “End of the Age” on Becoming the Archetype’s Dichotomy album, this song has an air of worship about it that gives it true beauty… Outright worshiping our God is scarce within the metal world and we need more songs like this one. This song will make you happy to be alive and happy to serve the Maker of worlds. The music is brutal and yet has a joyous feel to it that must be heard to be believed and is absolutely wonderful. The vocals are as heavy as you get, the lyrics are powerful, and then the singing kicks in… and you’re in a place of worship as you stand in awe at the splendor of our Father. “New life is my occupation. New creatures of my creation. I make things that need making. I wake the worlds that need waking.” *in Shao Khan voice* OUTSTANDING.
I must note though that the singing, the clean vocals here, are much too high for my tastes. BUT, the juxtaposition with the heavy vocals once they kick in is absolutely fabulous and pulled off perfectly. Thus it fits really well and grew on me the more I raped the replay button (dirty…). Sooo, no complaints from me! This is my second favorite song on the record and an absolutely incredible track. Unless…..
Song #9: The Sun Eater
WOW. Once again the lyrics on this album are incredible, and they strike again with this powerful song written from the perspective of Jesus, the Mighty One who forever sits at the righthand of the Father. This song is POWERFUL, however it does not have the melodic beauty of The Planet Maker, instead it is all crush and crunch straight through. With clean vocals that sing, “I am the Light. I alone make the darkness bright”. So. Awesome. This song is incredible, although I’d put it behind “The War Ender” and “The Planet Maker” for third best song on the album. That only leaves the finale……
Song #10: I AM
PHEW. *wipes sweat off brow* Did I speak of power before? This song SWINGS IT HOME. Melodic, crushing, mind-blowing vocals, deep growls of the most metallic kind, and Biblical verse whose power cannot be ignored. Jesus Christ said, “I AM THAT I AM. Me and My Father are One”. It sends shudders down your spine, and this song will rock your world. The long intro is the icing on the cake.
However, watch out that you don’t cut your gums on that wooden toothpick sticking out, it’s sharp… ‘What in the heck does that mean?’ You say. Towards the end of the song, just as it’s badassery is about to tear you to shreds and eat you alive, comes an out-of-no-where STUPID, STUPID, STUPID talking section in the background as the music is pounding. This section is so hideous it completely 100% took me out of the moment. It is beyond lame, and is virtually a song killer. I almost started this song review with “Ugh”. That’s how bad it is.
Thankfully, and praise God, this song is so beyond incredible and absolutely awesome, with a completely redeeming ending, that one spikey sore spot doesn’t ruin that oh-so-sweet after taste. This song is a winner, and hands down the heaviest track on the album. A fitting end to an incredible musical masterpiece overall.
BUY THIS RECORD!!!!!!!!!!! 9.0 Out of 10
Previous Albums From Becoming the Archetype:
* I AM – Be sure to check out the Becoming the Archetype I AM Tshirt Bundle at the Solid State Store
Album #4: Celestial Completion (Released: March 29 2009)
Album #3: Dichotomy (Released: November 25 2008)
Album #2: The Physics of Fire (Released: May 8 2007)
Album #1: Terminate Damnation (Released: August 30 2005)
Remix Album: Celestial Progression (Released: April 17 2012)
* In Loving Memory of Everything… I Never Had – Demo released when the band was called “Nonexistant Failure” (Released: 2002)
* The Remnant Album – Self-released Indie Album when the band was called “The Remnant”, this was their debut self-titled album. (Released: 2003)
* Death, Destruction, and Mayhem – Demo as “The Remnant”, followed self-titled album before the band changed names to Becoming the Archetype (Released: 2004)
These Indie albums are VERY tough to find, even online. If I find them or can host them, I’ll let everyone know.
Music Album Reviews
9. Between Here & Lost By Love And Death (helmed by Brian “Head” Welch Former Korn Lead Guitarist) [Posted: January 25 2013]
8. I AM By Becoming the Archetype (Posted: September 14th 2012)
7. Find Your Worth Come Home By To Speak of Wolves (Posted: May 25, 2012)
6. Celestial Progression (Remix Album) By Becoming the Archetype (Posted: May 21, 2012)
5 Return to Life By War of Ages (Posted: April 28, 2012)
4. Thousand Foot Krutch – The End Is Where We Begin (Posted: April 20, 2012)
3. KJ-52 – Dangerous (Posted: April 16, 2012)
2. Manafest – Fighter (Posted: April 15, 2012)
1. Demon Hunter – True Defiance (Posted: April 10, 2012)
5. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (N64) [Posted: January 31 2013]
4. Resident Evil: Code Veronica Review (Dreamcast) [Posted: October 5 2012]
3. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PS1, GameCube) [Posted: September 18th 2012]
2. Resident Evil 2 (GameCube) [Posted: September 3rd 2012]
1. Resident Evil Remake (GameCube) [Posted: August 14 2012]
Gilmore Girls Reviews
4. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 4 – The Deer Hunters
3. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 3 – Kill Me Now
2. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 2 – The Lorelais’ First Day At Chilton Review
1. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 1 – Pilot Review
3. The Amazing Spider-Man [Posted: December 1 2012]
2. Prometheus (Ridley Scott’s Alien Prequel) [Posted On: November 25 2012]
1. Warhorse (By Steven Spielberg) [Posted On: November 11 2012]
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 0 Part 6
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 0 Part 5
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 0 Part 4
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil Zero Podcast Part 3
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil Zero Podcast Part 2
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil Zero Podcast. RE0 Intro (Part 1)
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil: Code Veronica Finale (Part 7)
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil: Code Veronica Parts 5 and 6
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil: Code Veronica Part 4
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil: Code Veronica Part 3
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil: Code Veronica Part 2
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil: Code Veronica Podcast Part 1
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 3 Podcast Finale (Part 5)
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 3 Podcast Part 4
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 3 Podcast Parts 2 And 3
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 3 Podcast Part 1
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 2 Podcast Final Master Run (Claire Redfield)
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 2 Podcast (Leon Scenario A On Normal)
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil Remake Real Survival Mode Chris
* ListenToMePlay Super Metroid Podcast
* ListenToMePlay Super Metroid Podcast Part 2
* ListenToMePlay Oblivion “Through A Virgin’s Eyes” Podcast Part 1 – Guest Mr. Z
* ListenToMePlay Oblivion Podcast Part 2
* ListenToMePlay The Witcher 2 Podcast Part 1 – Guest: RedWinged Angel
* ListenToMePlay The Witcher 2 Podcast Part 2
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil Remake Podcast – Guest: MyDad
WatchMePlay Zelda: Majora’s Mask Let’s Play Videos
* WatchMePlay Zelda: Majora’s Mask Part 7 – Empty Bottle GET! Deku Palace And Magic Beans
* WatchMePlay Zelda: Majora’s Mask Part 6 – Granny Robbin For Blast Mask And Kamaro Dance
* WatchMePlay Zelda: Majora’s Mask Part 5 – The Thief And the Curiosity Shop Dealer
* WatchMePlay Zelda: Majora’s Mask Part 4 – Bomb Bag, Bremen Mask, Scarecrow’s Song
* WatchMePlay Zelda: Majora’s Mask Part 3 – Bomber’s Notebook
* WatchMePlay Zelda: Majora’s Mask Part 2 – Repeating Yesterday
* WatchMePlay Zelda: Majora’s Mask Part 1 – Intro and Opening