Inhale Exhale - Bury Me Alive

Album cover
Hardcore, Metalcore
Solid State Records
Inhale Exhale
Bury Me Alive
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Solid State Records is a fantastic label. They’re notorious for signing, um well, solid heavy bands within the realm of metal, hardcore, and everything in between. With a reputable lineup that includes Norma Jean, Underoath and August Burns Red, it seems they can do no wrong. They do, like most labels, make some missteps by signing bands that tend to be one-dimensional, but fit the description of the target sound they’re going for. So let’s create heavy breakdowns, sing-scream vocal patterns, drop those guitars down to “C”, and let’s roll! Inhale Exhale fit the role well, but are not doing anything but repeating what has already been heard.

Any band’s third full-length album is a test of sound. By this time a band knows they are committed to making music full-time, and have to keep their fans happy, but also want to explore horizons they have yet to cross. Inhale Exhale’s first attempt to prove their worth was made on their debut full-length The Lost, The Sick, and The Sacred by providing a slightly original experimentation to compete with their metalcore brethren. They expanded just a tad on their sophomore release I Swear... But a slight slip on the gradual slope comes on Bury Me Alive.

Kicking off the album is the pleasant surprise “Rooms”. The post-rock indie-esque track is absolutely beautiful with its arrangements wonderfully ordered and executed, and the delays done just right. No screaming, just lead vocalist Ryland Raus’s emotional high alto, and the rhythm hitting on all cylinders. The amazement quickly turns sour after the decibels raise, the palm-muting patterns surface, and well, hell, I thought we had something going. Ah, metalcore, I got the hint that you left us for a moment, but you never seem to go away, do you? “Did You Ever Have a Touch to Lose” has all of the rudiments of a concrete heavy track, without the fillers, without the layers, and without the originality. Raus’ screams are overshadowed by the loud guitars and double-bass happy drums that beam themselves into oblivion.

The following tracks have the same old elements, but do include one standout attribute. Guitarist John LaRussa shreds some lavish licks. His leads are very intricate, and allow the music to quickly shift tempos (think Norma Jean with a bit less intensity). The problem is that, although the guitars are technically impressive, they don’t fluctuate much. The melodies become predictable which is unfortunate considering the innate talent that each band member possesses. They certainly make it obvious to prove how gifted they are, but the songwriting leaves a vast room for improvement. After the wonderful lead-off track, Bury Me Alive descends into the abyss known as predictable, with only a few highlighted characteristics. If you’re looking for a decent metalcore album, you found one here.

1. Rooms
2. Did You Ever Have A Touch To Lose
3. Condemned
4. Over And Out
5. A Dark Place For Your Mind To Be
6. Intentions
7. Explosions
8. Fiction
9. Better Her Than Me
10. Thin Black Lines
11. An Era

Inhale Exhale is a christian metalcore outfit formed in Canton, Ohio, USA. They have released three records: The Lost. The Sick. The Sacred in 2006, I Swear... in 2008, and Bury Me Alive in 2009.

The band was formed in 2005 by Guitarist John LaRussa (formerly of Narcissus) and bassist Brian Pittman (formerly of Relient K). In 2006 they added vocalist Ryland Raus prior to the recording and release of their 2006 debut. They are currently signed to Solid State Records, a subsidiary of Tooth & Nail Records.

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