Of Virtue - To Breathe Again
Record Label: Self-released
Releaste Date: Janurary 2010
At the risk of sounding cliche, Of Virtue's To Breathe Again is truly a metalcore EP to be reckoned with. Foregoing the genre's prototypical breakdowns, pig squeals, and generic "pretty boy" vocals, the band instead choose to replace such "gimmickry" with solid musicianship and songwriting.
The EP doesn't pull any punches, and the opening track "Moving On" exemplifies this sentiment. Of Virtue comes off as something unique in the sea of As I Lay Dying sound-alikes. This track immediately demonstrates the band's heavy potential, although their melodic tendencies are arguably more pertinent. The intro is short and succinct- "Is this what you wanted? / Then you can have it. / Moving on is a struggle within itself."
Their penchant for melody lends itself well to metalcore ballads, and this EP delivers. Every song is a delightful amalgamation of the thrashing brutality of a great metalcore song and the build-ups and emotion melodic hardcore excels at, and the result is truly awesome. For those that feel the genre is lacking substance, To Breathe Again ought to be the next EP on your list.
The lyrics are consistently strong throughout, and may be my favorite part about the band. "Through Solace" contains my favorite lyrics this band has to offer: "If I went through what you have / I'd be in worse shape. / You give me the strength to / You give me the hope to carry on / The sorrow of yesterday is staring at our backs".
The EP's production sounds exactly how any fan of the genre would want it to. The drums sound tightl, and you can feel every kick. The guitar and bass are layered beautifully, and the execution of melody in their songwriting is spot on. The vocals have a perfect edge of subtle distortion while still maintaining clarity.
This is a band that puts dozens of established metalcore acts to shame, and is definitely one to look out for.