Becoming The Archetype has always been a tad hit or miss for me, mainly because I like my metal nice and simple. Leave out the clean vocals. Crank up the guitar sweeps. The Atlanta five-piece does all of this and more on their fifth studio album, I Am, leaving me simultaneously pissed and pleased.
The album's opener, "The Ocean Walker," takes a step in the right direction with vocalist Seth Hecox ripping into the first line with all the tenacity of ... oh wait, there's the soaring, background chorus to kill the mood. I don't care if the music is branded Christian progressive death metal -- leave out the Godsmack vocals. This is fierce music. Give me fierce music. I know I'm in the minority on this front. Many metal greats have incorporated regular vocals into their music, or even toned back on the heaviness altogether, but I simply won't have it. I don't want to know what you're saying. I want everything to hit the fan. I'm talking to you, All That Remains.
Alas, "The Eyes of The Storm" realigns the stars and puts everything back into place. BTA is rooted in hardcore, but incorporates grand guitar solos and epic harmony instead of the dissonant clanging of some random minor chord.
This mood stays pretty consistent throughout, which is totally fine. Again, I'm in the minority and I admit it. I Am is the logical next step for the group, even if it doesn't display the type of growth I'd expect from musicians with this much talent. Too often the band gets stuck on a single chord progression and makes sure to drive it into the ground. It's OK to color outside of the lines.
Stick with it, however, and you'll find I Am is dripping with technicality and fervor. If you're a fan of hardcore/metal, you can't ask for much more than that.