Breaths – Lined in Silver


Artist: Breaths

Album: Lined in Silver

Label: Trepanation Recordings

Release Date: 26/03/2021

Country: United States

Written by James Sweetlove

We take a look at Breaths upcoming full-length release Lined in Silver, set to drop March 26th on Trepanation Recordings.

Breaths is a solo project from Richmond, Virginia based musician Jason Roberts. The album was inspired by an episode of sleep paralysis after the birth of his son, just before the Covid pandemic of 2020 hit. As events of the year unfolded, and the state of the world became increasingly bleaker, Jason felt the need to channel the fear and anxiety of living in a global pandemic into his music, as well as the hope and joy that his newborn son brought into his life. The album’s artwork is courtesy of Michelle Roberts – WakingSeasonArt.

The album is a fantastic blend of a number or varying genres, ranging from black metal to post-metal/rock, post-hardcore, shoegaze and even a little bit of djent here and there. The resulting product is an album that consists of a juxtaposition of harshness and softness. There are soothing, calming melodies that sit atop of atmospheric and at times almost ambient undertones. Then there are harsh, heavy, raw segments that exist in total contrast. The two are a dichotomy that have become almost symbiotic, they both need each other to have full effect. Without the one the other would lose a lot of its effect and impact. It’s truly hard to compare this to another band but I can see influences from Deftones, Leprous and Tool, but with a bunch of djenty post-metal and black metal influences thrown in.

These contrasts apply not only to the instrumental elements on the album, but the vocals too. We have emotion laden, semi-atmospheric clean vocals that perfectly suit the softer parts of the album. Then we have harsh black metal vocals that accompany the heavier parts of the album. There is however overlap at many points, where some of the more threatening and ominous instrumentals spill over into areas with clean vocals adding even more contrast to the mix. There is a sort of semi-faded, semi-echoed effect added to these clean vocals that give them a truly interesting tone and texture. The harsh vocals really break things up nicely and add a real edge to the music, keeping things fresh and exciting.

Instrumentally speaking, Jason gives us a fantastic blend of technicality and atmosphere. Guitar wise there are some impressive riffs and hooks thrown around on the album. The downtuned twangy guitar tone of djent elements on the album are truly enjoyable in this context. They are kept interesting by the more atmospheric post-metal and harsher black metal influences that ensures they don’t become stale and repetitive as pure djent can. Bass wise we have some fantastic work here, with a thick and audible tone, as well as a technicality that matches that of the guitar work.

The themes on the album are as engaging as the music itself. Track 2 The Weight & The Bellows in particular has some fantastic lyrics and themes, focusing on the aforementioned topic of sleep paralysis. Here is a segment from the track:

“Sleep, must still be asleep

Feel the weight crushing down

On us all, not just me

Sleep, please tell me I’m asleep

Woke up paralyzed

Not knowing what is real

Something is wrong here

I’m still paralyzed

Questioning what is real

Months pass by here

The world is paralyzed

Still unable to tell

The line between the realms”

The ominous nature of the music itself reflects these lyrics on tone and energy and when paired with these themes give the listener a truly unsettling feeling. As someone who has never experienced sleep paralysis it’s something I never want to go through, it seems terrifying, and this song accurately expresses this. This is just one example from the album and should show you that you need to take the time to check this one out.

Overall, this was so much more impressive than I was expecting. I know never to judge a book by its cover, but the album artwork and band and album name made me think this was going to be a far softer, quieter release than it actually was. I was not expecting such boundary pushing, experimental music and I am so, so glad to say that I was wrong on this one with my assumptions. This ended up being one of my favourite albums so far this year, hands down and has already recieved multiple listens. Everyone should take some time and give this release a spin today.

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