It’s often disregarded just how much influence August Burns Red has had in today’s metalcore scene. Sure, they weren’t exactly the first to do the whole technical metalcore thing, but they did make it more accessible and well-known. Lately it has become one of the most prominent sounds in bands hailing from labels such as Sumerian Records and Facedown Records. More recently, bands such as For Today and Born of Osiris have acquired decent amounts of popularity with this sound. It is to be expected, however, that when a band popularizes a certain genre, that there will be imitators. This is where I, The Breather comes in. Gaining inspiration from bands like August Burns Red and For Today, the Maryland quintet signed on to Sumerian records and recently released their debut full-length These Are My Sins, which unfortunately suffers from a lack of personality.
First track “Forgiven” is exactly what you’ll be hearing for the next 40 minutes: breakdowns accompanied by either sweeps or some sort of technical guitar part. While this shows off that the band definitely knows how to play their instruments, it ends up becoming monotonous and repetitive throughout the album. There isn’t much that distinguishes one track from the next. “High Rise” manages to be a little more memorable than most tracks with the inclusion of a group chant, which, although cheesy, makes the song stand out a bit more. “Longevity” gives a beacon of hope with its solemn intro, however, even that doesn’t last long as the song immediately turns into every other song in the album. Interlude “Empathy” is well-constructed and at times beautiful, which makes it the standout track of the album. Another saving grace of the album is closer “Illuminate”, which starts off much like every single track off These Are My Sins, but manages to redeem itself as the music fades off with the type of beautiful instrumentality that would have been nice to see throughout the rest of the album.
The members of I, the Breather are definitely prolific at their respective instruments. The guitar work of Jared Youngbar and Justin Hoffman gets old but shows true talent, while frontman Shawn Spann’s vocals are intense and are exactly what a band of this genre requires. Unfortunately, These Are My Sins comes off as one long song instead of an album. Maybe with some better quality production, which would have made the heavier moments more heavy-hitting, the album would have ended up being more interesting. But even then, I feel like the album would have been mediocre at best.
I’ve met several people who have told me that to them, metalcore bands all sound the same and that they can’t distinguish one song from another. I never related to that, until now. These Are My Sins is really one long song, with a few interesting spots here and there. I, the Breather is my first sign that this genre is starting to become oversaturated, and you can bet that they won’t be the last band to bring forth an uninteresting debut to the genre. If you really enjoy bands like Texas In July, With Life In Mind, and For Today, then chances are you might enjoy this album, albeit in small doses. If the aforementioned bands aren’t exactly your cup of tea, then I would suggest to stay away from this album.