It would not be at all unexpected if some Becoming the Archetype fans found themselves experiencing sudden stress-related health problems over the course of the last month. In the process of actively hyping their fourth full-length release, Celestial Completion, the boys of Becoming the Archetype managed to terrify and alarm a significant portion of their fan base with the fear that they had gone too far in their quest for musical diversity. These fears were prompted with the early release of two tracks, "The Magnetic Sky" and "Cardiac Rebellion," neither of which were typical Becoming the Archetype fare. "Cardiac Rebellion" especially nearly induced, well, cardiac arrest thanks to its off-the-wall jazz/ska interlude and ample vocoder effects. At that point, it seemed like many were prepared to write off the entirety of Celestial Completion as a disaster.
That was all before listeners had a chance to hear the album in its entirety, and it's safe to say that when viewed as a whole, Celestial Completion makes a lot more sense. Not only does it make sense, it turns out to be yet another top-notch metal masterpiece, just what we've begun to expect from the boys of BTA. In fact, as a whole, it is actually not too drastically different from the band's previous albums. Sonically, it falls in between The Physics of Fire and Dichotomy, being decidedly less structured than the latter, but not quite as cold as the former. Most importantly, the guys sound like they're genuinely having fun on this release, and the obvious passion in the music is something that has been lacking from previous albums.
The aforementioned "The Magnetic Sky" and "Cardiac Rebellion" are the most innovative songs on the album, and each has its own success. "The Magnetic Sky" features a simplistic guitar line that takes a back seat while Jason Wisdom's harsh vocals share time with a catchy clean chorus provided by new guitarist Daniel Gailey. It also turns out to be the most structured song on the album. "Cardiac Rebellion" is a slow, chugging prog track that inexplicably breaks out into something like a ska song, thanks to guest trombone from Dennis Culp of Five Iron Frenzy fame. The effort is not entirely successful, as it seems a little too out of place, but it is definitely interesting. Meanwhile, the rest of the album takes a more classic approach. "Internal Illumination" is a frantic death metal track that is one of the clear highlights. In a nod back to the masterful "Elegy" from Terminate Damnation, there is a three part track titled "Requiem Aeternam" that spans a total of around 11 minutes. It opens with "Music of the Spheres," a wonderful little piano interlude, and eventually peaks in a full out metal climax. Also, there's a little bit of world music tossed in for good measure, as the very brief "Invisible Creature" features, among other things, a brief appearance by an Indian sitar.
With all that being said, the most notable change sonically is the addition of Daniel Gailey in the lead guitar role. To be specific, Gailey's vocals play a huge part in influencing the overall character of the album. In addition to providing clean singing in multiple tracks, Gailey also adds an extra layer with some very nice high, death metal shrieks that accompany Jason Wisdom's lower-tone roars perfectly. This pushes several tracks more solidly into the death metal category, which is a welcome change. His clean vocals are also very prominent, although at times they are a little on the weak side. Meanwhile, his guitar work is solid, albeit not terribly original, and there are a couple technically excellent solos throughout the album.
I'm happy to say that Celestial Completion should successfully calm any fears that fans may have had before the release. This is a masterfully executed, intensely diverse collection of metal excellence. It changes up the band's sound in several key ways, but always hearkens back to their roots enough to keep things familiar. In the end, Celestial Completion is an imminently worthy addition to Becoming the Archetype's repertoire, and a definite candidate for one of the best metal albums of the year.- Review date: 4/7/11, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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