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Friday, October 28, 2011

Becoming the Archetype -- Dichotomy


A progressive death metal band like Becoming the Archetype could only come from the South. I say this because only in the South are we this crazy.
Dichotomy is Becoming the Archetype's third album for Solid State records. It is purportedly based on the C.S. Lewis novel, That Hideous Strength. I haven't read the book, but by the artwork and lyrics of Dichotomy, I can only guess it is about man's failure to transform himself through science and technology, when he is already created to be who he is by God. One of the most musically-straigtforward (except for the ELO-like intro riff) songs, "Artificial Immortality," features the lines, "I am not a mechanism, I am part of the resistance. I am an organism, an animal, a creature. I am a beast!"
Did I mention this band was kind of crazy? If you prefer a lot of singing with your heavy, screaming music, you are not in luck here. There are a few random sung lines here and there, but death metal growl-screams are the norm. That said, you never know where a choir will show up. The one on "Self Existent" pops up out of no where, chants "He is alive, He is forever!" as vocalist, Jason Wisdom, sings the same thing. This of course descends into the loud sound of a beating heart, before transitioning to the next track, "St. Anne's Lullaby," an acoustic guitar instrumental that could easily soundtrack a renaissance festival. And then the next song begins like a film score.
I haven't mentioned the strings, keys, pianos, and harpsichords yet, but there are some Danny Elfman-esque creepfests that pop-up and disappear just as you're noticing they are there. Of course there's a ton of chugging, shredding, string-bending, and solos as well--at it's heart, despite all the weirdness, Dichotomy is still, somehow, a traditional metal album.
The brutal "Evil Unseen" continues the albums themes--"I am not of this world/And science cannot explain me/I will transcend death/This body will not contain me"--and leads into more leftfield territory with a straightforward death-metal cover of the classic hymn, "How Great Thou Art," building acoustic-intro, blazing solos, and everything. I'm not even kidding.

Becoming the Archetype take it into outer space on Dichotomy's final two tracks. "Deep Heaven"'s got a piano break underneath a belting Pink Floyd-style soprano singer, then a weird piano/drum n'bass tango, before the heavy outro is led out by Wisdom's cries that "Eternity has overtaken me/Eternity is inside of me." The final track, "End of the Age" features just about every crazy thing that's come before just one last time, and some new stuff, including the sound of a lion roaring--I'm serious--and ends with some seriously triumphant lyrics, "With the valleys of the seas exposed/And the surface of the earth laid bare/He reached down into the void/He reached down and took hold of me!/Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"
Dichotomy is perfect for those who like experimental metal that still sounds like metal. It's also great for Christian heavy music fans who long for actual spiritual content that is neither insipid, nor un-inspired. In other words, Dichotomy is great for anybody who likes untraditional but anchored heavy music.

2008 Solid State
1. Mountain of Souls 5:14
2. Dichotomy 4:23
3. Artificial Immortality 3:56
4. Self Existent 4:16
5. St. Anne's Lullaby 1:51
6. Ransom 4:02
7. Evil Unseen 4:02
8. How Great Thou Art 4:27
9. Deep Heaven 4:36
10. End of the Age 6:30


david said...



I had no idea this band even existed.

Thanks for posting this!

What a cover of a hymn.

(I would love to see this live.)


Nicholas said...

Hey, no problem, man! Glad you liked it. A lot of people are clamoring for this band to just do an entire album of these.
Almost as good as being there!