on February 24, 2010
As we've made our way well into the new year, I felt an urge to look back a few months to make sure I hadn't missed any good records. And I'm glad I did because as I was looking over some upcoming releases on Solid State's website (home of Oh Sleeper, Living Sacrifice and Gwen Stacy), my eyes crossed a release from October of last year that I hadn't noticed -- a little band with a not-so-little sound, better known as Inhale Exhale, and their most recent album, Bury Me Alive.
This quintet has a huge sound and more energy than you would get from a gallon of Redbull. So, in light of the more mellow metal I have been spending a lot of my time with recently, I was eager for a nice boost of brutality to re-energize my batteries and catch back up with these guys after almost two years.
Overall, these guys have a very basic hardcore sound to them -- nothing over the top or overly technical. Just good solid ear blasting melodies. Solid State has a knack in finding Christ-core bands, and I'm just giddy for `em all. Very similar to Haste The Day and Oh Sleeper, Inhale Exhale mash melody with metal, and are crackin' skulls along the way. Ryland's vocals are spot-on and his transitions between good and evil are very smooth, yet aggressive. Coupled with the musical mayhem led by guitarist LaRussa, you're in store for an earful of menacing guitar riffs that are sure to piss off your neighbors.
The album opens on a song called "Rooms" which offers up some decent chugging guitar riffs and nice drum fills. A very basic by-the-book metalcore song. It's not anything to turn your nose up at, but it's not their best track, either. The next few songs follow that same flow -- a lot of chugging and heavy breakdowns. Ryland stays heavy vocally and they don't give up a lot of melody, but they are still good solid tunes.
I feel like they really open up in track six, "Intentions." Those who know my style will understand, from the first note, why this is the side of Inhale Exhale that appealed to me more. It's here where Ryland really opens up vocally, showing his range. Musically, they offer up more melody and hooks to their riffs, which I think are very infectious. From here on out, they lose the low-end chug and offer up faster paced riffs with a little more depth. They don't lose the edge; they just brighten it up and give you a little more to move around to, rather than just sitting there bobbing your head. The problem is, at this point, we are already more than halfway through the record. Honestly, I was expecting more at this point.
I could do without track nine, "Better Than Me," because it's a little too anti-climatic for my taste. Song ten, "Thin Black Lines," is a heavy, upbeat, punch dancing kind of song. Their closer, "An Era," is by far one of my faves (aside from "Intentions"). This is a big, beastly song to end the album. I always like albums that go out with a bang -- and that's just what they do here.
So in closing, what did I think of Inhale Exhale's most current release, Bury Me Alive? I can't say I enjoyed it as much as 2008's I Swear, but it was a pretty good listen. They have the basics down, but with this being their third album, I think they could have been a little more brazen and maybe stepped outside of the box a little. I'm not hating on this album at all, because I did enjoy it, but feel as though they moved backwards. They have the sound and the talent, but it's not just about breaking skulls -- it's about breaking ground, too. I think they could have taken a few more chances.