The Breathing Process – Labyrinthian (Unique Leader)Monday, 4th October 2021
Long-time purveyors of blackened deathcore, The Breathing Process are one of the first acts that attempted said merger with the release of In Waking: Divinity back in 2007. Labyrinthian is their fourth full-length album at this point over the years, but unfortunately the same trappings that overtook them from the start are largely still present.
The biggest hurdle for The Breathing Process is one that many similar acts face when attempting a ‘blackened’ sound: homogeny. Simply put, unless you are really digging through the content and analyzing the guitar riffs and melodies, you are in for a very long, black-ish blur of an album. Certainly, there are a few shining moments, such as the elegantly sounding “I Sleep, I Wake,” but as a whole, much of the album feels like a continuation of the previous track. All too often, the melodies don’t stand out enough to make the tracks feel unique enough to recall after listening to the whole album. A very clear case of ‘great song, boring album.” All of the elements are there in a given track (particularly the one cited above), but as you listen to more of it at a time, the feelings and tempos start to stick together: epic sounding keyboards, an occasional lead guitar melody with a hint of atmosphere, and lots (and lots) of blastbeats. On the plus side, this is not a band that gets hung up on breakdowns if that’s something you tend to avoid.
For the average Spotify listener checking out a band based on a playlist, The Breathing Process probably leaves a pretty solid impression. But the problem with Labyrinthian is that it suffers from a big case of “same-y sound-itis” as the tracks continue to unfold. Some stronger dynamics would easily fix the issues, as they have the chops for songwriting – it just needs to showcase itself in a more varied way.