Breathing Process

Odyssey: (Un)dead

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The Breathing Process have been through quite a few lineup changes since their formation in 2003; on their second full-length album, Odyssey: (Un)Dead, only two members remain from the band's original 2003 lineup (lead singer John LaFreniere and guitarist Jordan Milner), and they are joined by 2009 arrivals Sara Loerlein (guitar, lead vocals), Jared Sloan (keyboards), Julian Parker (bass), and Nikolas Tormentahl (drums). On top of all the lineup changes, there have been stylistic changes as well. The Connecticut-based outfit started out as an all-American metalcore/screamo band before moving in more of a European-influenced death metal/black metal direction, and on Odyssey: (Un)Dead, they sound like they could be from somewhere in Europe. But this is definitely an American band -- it's just an American band that became increasingly European-sounding along the way. Odyssey: (Un)Dead is not easy to categorize, but the best description is probably a combination of melodic death metal and symphonic black metal with elements of doom metal, gothic metal, and progressive metal. This 2010 release aims for brutality and heaviness as well as nuance, melody, and atmosphere; a lot of the nuance comes from keyboardist Sloan and from Loerlein, who provides the clean vocals and favors the type of darkly angelic vocal style one associates with Lacuna Coil, Epica, and other European gothic metal bands. The extreme vocals, meanwhile, are provided by LaFreniere, who fluctuates between death metal's Cookie Monster growl and black metal's shrieking rasp. And together, LaFreniere and Loerlein give this 50-minute CD the type of "Beauty and the Beast" contrast that isn't hard to find in some of the more melodic areas of European extreme metal. Odyssey: (Un)Dead is mildly inconsistent -- most of the album is a creative success, although some parts of it don't work quite as well. But overall, Odyssey: (Un)Dead is a decent effort from these European-minded American metalheads.

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