EXCLUSIVE: The Breathing Process – Samsara [2018]

Artist: The Breathing Process

Album: Samsara

Too often, it seems, we fail to stop and appreciate the things that are truly beautiful in life. We’re routinely buried face-deep in our cell phones and computers, obsessed over likes and hashtags to a point of neglecting the things that happen every second of every day that breath-taking—and I’m not preaching, I’m no better (if not much worse) than the vast majority. Maybe you’re in the same boat—hell, maybe that’s why you’re reading this.

Among all beauties, terrestrial and otherwise, none is so pervasive—yet so utterly taken for granted—as that which defines human life. Fleeting and transient, a living, conscious human being is little more than a collection of atoms arranged in molecules which form cells, gradually building functional tissues and working, mobile structures. These tissues are given a conscience such that every heartbeat carries intent and power—such that every breath in and out bears purpose. That’s where The Breathing Process come into play; because while there are countless beauties that make 2018 a wondrous time to be alive, one of the chief among them is the return of some of symphonic deathcore’s greatest. With their return to form, Samsara, The Breathing Process reclaim their throne, blending brutalizing, bone-splitting heaviness with boundless, melodic and blackened awe. Ranging from lacerating blasts and salvos of scathing riffs to gut-busting, explosive breakdowns, The Breathing Process bring nearly a decade of silence straight to the listener’s head like a point-blank shotgun blast, providing power, intensity and jaw-dropping beauty all without missing a beat.

Eight years since Odyssey Undead has done wonders for The Breathing Process’ already complex and immense sound. Taking the immolating, scathing intensity that made their eruption into the heavy music underground so well-received, their 2018 release, Samsara is another example of eviscerating, gritty excellence. Combining aspects of atmospheric, sprawling black metal with deathcore, death metal, symphonic metal and a little intangible something, the band are at the top of their game—and arguably when it matters most. In a time where countless bands are going above and beyond what might otherwise be called for, The Breathing Process go above and beyond that, and it begins with the efforts of percussionist Bryan Bever. Bever is skilled in machine-gun speed, technical perfection and bleak, solid foundations for dirging, dismal and depressive soundscapes. Starting with the lacerating “Into the Night,” through the crunchy and rambunctious “Dethroned” and “Supervoid,” and even during more mellow (relatively, that is) cuts like “Sungrazer,” Bever hits hard, fast and without any shred or form of mercy. With skin-slicing blast beats that share the stage with blistering double-kick segments and fills that seem beyond human, Bever’s work at the core of The Breathing Process is essential, especially where he works with the band’s four fret-wielding monsters. Bassist Jake Staley grooves and slinks below the trio of terrifyingly talented guitarists that comprise the lion’s share of The Breathing Process’ musical dynamic. Lead guitarist Sara Loerlein works with Jordan Milner and Ian Van Opijnen to create tidal waves of riffs, breakdowns, grooves—hell, anything the listener can dream of—to oppress the ears of the collective heavy music community at large. Loerlein’s work as the spearhead—with Milner, Opijnen and Staley at her side—is awe-inspiring for truly each and every track that makes Samsara. Songs like “Into the Night” exemplify this as well as any, even while “Supervoid” remains a personal favorite for sheer, inhumane aggression. No matter where you turn, The Breathing Process’ latest effort

is armed to the teeth with an arsenal of weapons one might expect from bands scattered across the vast spectrum of heavy music as opposed to just one band.

If we’re speaking of pure progression and an evolution of peerless immensity, one can’t speak of The Breathing Process without speaking on the vocal powerhouse that is the band’s frontman, Cody Harmon. Where previous efforts highlighted the gritty, late-2000s deathcore style of throat-shredding, grisly bellows and growls, the Harmon of 2018 is more refined, skillful, practiced but simultaneously more expressive. From the first belted syllables of Samsara’s introductory number, through “Into the Night” and the gut-busting “Supervoid,” all the way to the grim, heavily blackened styles that define the album’s back half (“The Nothing,” “Sungrazer”), Harmon’s talents cannot be denied. Playing to the simply huge symphonies that speckle the release while still bringing no-holds-barred power during the more intense and straightforward sections, Harmon’s lows are lower than ever before, with a shrill, ear-splitting high register to add to his already solid arsenal. With the years of personal growth and maturation that have occurred since the release of the last The Breathing Process material, Harmon’s voice has also grown, taking on a bolder, more fearsome tone with the same smooth and poetic candor—making the verses he lets loose on “The Nothing,” among others, fluid and engaging. With a sprawling range, brilliant lyrics and enough energy to power an entire city under his belt, Harmon is the element that makes everything The Breathing Process undertake on Samsara truly hit home.

The Breathing Process’ latest effort is magnificent. With excellent melodic and symphonic touches to add an element of the fantastic and ethereal to the otherwise bleak and blackened style of brutalizing deathcore the band boast, Samsara leaves no stone unturned in its search for perfection. A rapture of ruthlessness, The Breathing Process’ return to form—as heard in their forthcoming effort–Is just one more beautiful thing to grace 2018 with its presence.


For Fans Of: Slice the Cake, Make Them Suffer, Shadow of Intent

By: Connor Welsh