The Lost, the Sick, the Sacred
Add another Christian metalcore band to the heap. Featuring former members of Relient K and Narcissus, Inhale/Exhale are ready to take on popular acts like Underoath and the Chariot, albeit with a more melodic approach than either of those two bands (falling closer to the likes of Destroy the Runner). Their entry into the scene, The Lost the Sick the Sacred, opens with a quick sonic buildup, "Redemption" soon stomping along under the direction of frontman Ryland Raus' abrasive shrieking, as sweet singing eventually appears in the mix to temper all of the aggression with a shot of light from above. That's the giant contrast running throughout Inhale/Exhale's heavy though rock-oriented songs; it's an emotional and aggressive mix of light and dark, heaven and hell, and one that pretty convincingly pulls off both ends of the spectrum. Balance is key here, as neither the melody-injected parts nor the volatile explosions are jarring in their delivery, opposites melding together to coexist nicely on the album. The intensity level doesn't let up throughout, the most obvious exception being the slow and somber "Sons of Tomorrow (To Noah James)" (though the pensive vocal repetitions of the title track sound as if they are directly off a Switchfoot record), and the group's muscular guitars and propulsive rhythm section remain quite direct and heavy throughout. While obviously sincere, Inhale/Exhale aren't the most unique metalcore band around — but no matter, since they execute everything well enough that there's no reason they shouldn't draw a healthy crowd at 2007's Cornerstone Festival.