CD Reviews

Through Fire - 'Breathe'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 08, 2018    
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The evolved version of Emphatic and 'Breathe' could now ironically enjoy more success than anything in its past.

2011's 'Damage' was Omaha band Emphatic's finest hour; a Modern Rock classic combining radio-friendly choruses with Metallic guitar. Originally stripped to a three-piece at the whim of Atlantic Records, and their career seemingly stalling when vocalist Patrick Wilson pulled out of the album tour with a fractured larynx, band leader and guitarist Justin McCain first pulled in Grant Kendrick (from The Wreckage – another Omaha-based band) and then Dev Electric's Bryan Scott as cover. Wilson eventually left the band permanently and journeyman singer Toryn Green entered the fold for the third album 'Another Life' before he too left, citing artistic differences with McCain. Enter Kendrick once more as the new full-time vocalist. The band's reinvention was complete after a name change alongside a change in direction that has been realised with this, effectively the band's fourth album.

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The album as a whole returns to a style more in line with the 2005 debut. It still retains the guitar sound of McCain, and there are some familiar forays into radio-friendly territory with the hooky 'Stronger', 'Breakout', 'Where You Lie' or the downbeat pseudo ballad 'Breathe', but there's a renewed aggression in the thudding 'Take It All Away', 'Damage' and 'Dead Inside' – a song featuring a particularly vitriolic delivery from Kendrick.

'Breathe' perhaps now typifies the brand of Active Rock, it's more aggressive and more appealing to those who enjoy the heavier end of the music spectrum, and yet, it retains a melodic edge with several songs that have radio appeal. Commercially a weaker album than 'Damage', which should have been more of a success than it was, the evolved version of Emphatic and 'Breathe' could now ironically enjoy more success than anything in its past.

Mike Newdeck

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