The Breathing Process - Odyssey (un)Dead
Symphonic / Blackened Deathcore
13 songs (50:56)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Kyle

If you read my Winds of Plague review a few months back, then you know that I have a higher tolerance for metal subgenres ending with the suffix “-core” than your average metal reviewer. Add to this the fact that I tend to gravitate towards odd fusions of musical styles – such as the new power metal / melodeath / metalcore oddity that is Wrath & Rapture - and you’d think that I’d instantly latch onto The Breathing Process, who present us with a symphonic, blackened, and ultimately odd blend of deathcore, death metal, and even gothic doomdeath with their sophomore effort Odyssey (un)Dead. From what little I’ve heard from their debut, In Waking: Divinity, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that this album is much better, forgoing much of their deathcore sound in order to make a more diverse and tasteful record. But: Does it actually work?

Well, yes and no. Odyssey (un)Dead is definitely an interesting album, and one that is mostly entertaining thanks to a diverse collection of songs, but it suffers just as much as it succeeds. Here, The Breathing Process ventures into Cradle of Filth territory on Leveller, dabbles in gothic doomdeath with Vulture(s) and Starless: Eternal, and toys with some Winds of Plague-style symphonic deathcore with The Living Forest (Part 1) and Decaying Form (In fact, I’m almost certain there’s some blatant WoP worship afoot here). But as is with most deathcore bands, the production here has been polished to a sickeningly sweet sheen; the drums in particular are just plain annoying, since the double bass sounds incredibly triggered to the point where it feels like the drummer isn’t putting much effort into his performance at all. There’s also some weird, electronic / techno-ish moments littered about; they’re mostly unnecessary and silly, but a few provide some unexpected atmosphere. At least they’re nowhere near as bad as that godawful Euro-techno switch-up from Attack Attack, which is currently the laughing stock of the MR forums. The guitars here crunch along fairly inoffensively, though they’re mostly used just to add another layer to the sound rather than to create secondary melodies or harmonies.

As for John LaFreniere’s vocals… well, if you’ve heard one harsh deathcore vocalist, you’ve heard them all, so there’s no need to delve into details. Guitarist Sara Loerlein does provides occasional back-up vocals, though, and when her voice chimes in, it’s always a welcome addition; her brief performance on Starless: Eternal is very emotional, even if she’s far from the best female vocalist I’ve heard in a metal band. Probably the biggest weak point of The Breathing Process, however, is its lack of creativity from its members – something that the deathcore genre as a whole sorely lacks. There are absolutely no moments here where you’ll say “Wow, that young fella sure is talented!”, but Odyssey (un)Dead seems to be more concerned with atmosphere than complexity, and at least a few songs are truly memorable. Other than the few tracks I listed in the second paragraph, however, the songs all tend to blend into each other; because of this, the album is much better when listened to as a whole, but at the same time you’ll find yourself wanting more.

Despite all its flaws, Odyssey (un)Dead is surprisingly easy to listen to; Just turn it on and listen to it while you’re working or doing schoolwork, and you may find your attention diverted by some of the more epic moments or by the beautiful and mellow melodic segments that pockmark the album. In other words, the record is more engrossing than you’d originally expect. I can’t really recommend a purchase of this album - The Breathing Process really seems to be struggling to find the right blend of all their various influences at this point in their career – but I CAN recommend you to watch out for these guys in the future, as they’re almost sure to mature into a very worthwhile band.

Killing Songs :
Leveller, Pantheon Unravelling, Starless: Eternal, Living Forest Pts. I & II, Decaying Form
Kyle quoted 68 / 100
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