The Breathing Process
Labyrinthian

“Breathe in through your nose and out through your vagina.” This is the breathing process. At least that’s what I told a former friend who was getting a particular painful wrist tattoo. There’s also a band with the name The Breathing Process, and they may beg to differ. MAY.

Anyway, I’ve never heard these blackened deathcore veterans, despite the fact I am told they were one of the early ‘core bands to use keys in deathcore. This is album number 4, titled Labyrinthian. I picked it because it comes out on my birthday and they’ll be a part of my first show since COVID began. So, happy birthday to me… or is it?

Well, based on the first two tracks, “Terminal,” and “Shadow Self,” respectfully, I would say so. The first track has a brief intro before vocals kick in. If they weren’t of the deathcore shout variety, one could be mistaken for thinking this is going to be a melodic black metal album. However, they do employ a dual vocal approach with a mix of rasps and deathcore shouts, and it works. The second track is more along the lines of what most would expect. It’s blackened deathcore with some keys and breakdowns, but no less effective.

A little later on, track 5, the title track, Labyrinthian, begins with an intro and some tremolo picking. If I didn’t know better, I would say I was listening to a modern melodic black metal album along the lines of Mgla or Uada. This song, while excellent, is over 5 minutes long, and this is where small cracks in the foundation start to show.

Building on that, the next track is over 7 minutes. It’s called “I Sleep, I Wake.” I mean, that’s what one usually does, in that order, right? Anyway, it begins with some synth/keys work, and goes through multiple changes. For the most part, it’s what you would expect, but with around 3 minutes left, the solo guitar quiets things down a little before kicking back in with some keys, making the ending of the track quite, dare I say, epic?

Moving along to the final track, which is called “We, The Drowned.” It’s backbone is the keys and the dual vocal approach. The dual vocals take on a deeper, almost Slaughter to Prevail approach in parts. While this is another 7-minute track, it doesn’t drag because of the tempo changes, which include a nearly full minute solo keyboard section at the end. It’s a fitting end to the album.

At the end, what you’ve endured is 54 minutes of blackened deathcore, with a far stronger emphasis on the blackened part. Listening, it makes me want to check out their previous, and it makes me wonder why they’re not one of the top names in this sub-genre. However, I mentioned the cracks in the foundation, which is the fact mentioned above that it’s 54 minutes. I find it hard to believe that if you’re not into this type of deathcore, you won’t enjoy the hell out of this. I sure have… and I’m listening to it a lot, but my one quibble is that they should have done some editing and removed at least 10 minutes somewhere along the way. If that had been done, I think this would be a year-end list contender for a lot of people.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
October 13th, 2021

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