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Album Review: Spoken – Breathe Again

Spoken - Breathe Again

Score: 10/10

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2015 has undeniably been an exciting year for new albums. In keeping with that trend, Nashville metalcore band, Spoken, will be releasing their eighth studio album, Breathe Again, on December 11th through Artery Recordings.

Spoken, made up of Matt Baird (vocals), Scoop Roberts (guitar), and Isaiah Perez (drums), is constantly striving for perfection with their songwriting as well as their live performances, having toured with acts like Volbeat, Red, Disciple, and Norma Jean. In 1997, they made their debut with On Your Feet. Over the years, their sound has evolved, beginning as a combination of rap and metal and gradually growing heavier and more melodic by their third full-length release, Echoes of the Spirit Still Dwell in 2000. For the 2007 self-titled album, Spoken’s heavy sound had become matured. The band continued to explore more anthemic avenues for two more albums, but they found themselves re-examining their hard rock and metal roots on their third record, Illusion, for the label, Tooth and Nail. In July of this year, the band signed with Artery Recordings, and is currently preparing to release their biggest and best album yet.

The 14-track Breathe Again starts off with “Intro,” a soft piece featuring piano and strings with a vocal underlay that sets the stage for “Walking In My Dreams,” a heavy, hard-hitting, head-banger’s number. This song is all about being consumed by thoughts of someone so deeply that you’re afraid to fall asleep, lest you see them in your dreams. “Beyond The Stars” keeps the energy pumping as Spoken breathes new life into the old theme of taking someone’s hand to be led away from this existence. Perez’s drums set the pace for the next track, “Surrender,” as Roberts’ guitar joins to fill in the melody. Baird’s vocals call to wake up to find surrender in this heavy, yet more melodic song. The first single off of the album is the title track, “Breathe Again,” featuring Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire. It’s an incendiary track about starting over again. “All I Wanted” is packed full of more in-your-face riffs, and Baird’s desperation is clearly perceived. It feels like a tribute as he sings about trying to help someone out of their deepest depression and show them they’re truly alive. “Hollow and Untrue” changes things up a bit with a slow and simple start that suddenly explodes in a beautiful way. This is an empowering number that encourages you to see straight through those who hate and threaten you and to understand they can never bring you down to their level.

A synthesized drumbeat fades into the real thing as the ethereal ballad, “Your Memories Are Alive Again,” comes into being. The loss that death brings is strong in this song as Baird sings about being caught between wanting to let go of the past and wanting to hold on and cherish those memories. “Nothing Without You” maintains the same tempo and keeps with the depression theme as the lyrics speak about finding the reasons to continue holding on, in this case, it’s the one you always reach out to no matter how far you fall.

“Poison In The Air” kicks things back into another high-octane session in this song about contempt for the toxic people in your life. The next single off Breathe Again, “Falling Apart,” keeps the blood pumping as Baird sings about being there for someone who wears their pain so well no one can tell that they’re falling apart inside. “Hold On” is the last burst of adrenaline for the album, but it takes on a more hopeful atmosphere as the lyrics ask to hold on through the darkness so you can start over in the light of a new day. The last song and ballad, “Take My Breath Away,” closes the album out with a soft opening that slowly builds into a beautiful declaration of love and devotion, complete with a nice string accompaniment.

From its head-banging start to soul-touching finish, Breathe Again is an enjoyable listen, especially on repeat. Fans new and old will want to get their hands on this one, so head over to iTunes or the band’s merch page to preorder the album!

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