2005 was the year I really dove back into what was happening in modern metal. Over at Nine Circles I ran a series of articles about the many albums I had relegated to binders, and over the course of 3 entries and almost 30 albums I think there were over a dozen just from that year. One of the bands I didn’t cover was Becoming the Archetype, and that’s that’s because their 2005 debut Terminate Damnation was never pushed to binder status. This is epic thrashing modern metal that holds up ridiculously well, bridging progressive and technical death metal with elements of metalcore wrapped in a strong, unyielding Christian ethos. God approves, and so do I.
My friend Jon who does this whole “album a thing day” much better than I do commented that despite being lumped in with a glut of other Christian metal bands in 2005 (that year being particularly hot for the niche) it was their ability to conjure a sense of the epic in their songs that helped them stand apart. Listening to something like “Elegy” it’s easy to see why. Massive, 11+ epics stand shoulder to shoulder with lengthy acoustic instrumentals and face-ripping barn burners. Over the course of 11 songs in just under an hour everything is touched and nothing is left standing. If anything Terminate Damnation hits me harder now, revealing just how well the band could craft songs that were super heavy and catchy without losing any integrity. There’s a killer blues section smacking the center of the maelstrom that is “The Epigone,” and it feels right at home.
Whammy dives, moshing riffs, and hardcore vocals that sound like bassist/singer Jason Wisdom is ready to murder the world fall right in line with the hardcore Christian messages of holding on to a higher power in the face of despair (“No Fall Too Far”) or bearing the scars of humility (the brutal “Beyond Adaptation”). In the end though, Becoming the Archetype succeed on Terminate Damnation not because of the righteous message, but because of the fury they bring to it.
*Postscript: I forgot to mention how sick that Dan Seagrave cover was and still is. Now I have.