Myth of I – Myth of I
Metal instrumental up-and-comers, Myth of I, recently released their debut self-titled album – a follow-up to their first EP “S.T.E.M” – which continues their striking mixture of progressive metal and a classic metalcore/djent sound. Myth of I relies heavily on rhythm-intensive breakdowns and dual-guitar harmonies to guide the flow of their songs, often employing electronic elements to create atmosphere, or to harmonize with the guitar, adding another layer to the musical depth. While this does create something unique and appealing, one of the shortcomings of the album is the lack of focus on elements beyond the heavy-metal sound. There are occasions of diversity, where they use atmosphere and melody to explore memorable, playful passages (these are often the highlights of the listening experience), but they are rare and often short-lived, only furthering the listener’s desire.
The album’s artwork depicts a foggy, almost ominous, woodlands area, setting the tone for the album’s intro song, ‘Pandora,’ which showcases colorful, jazzy guitar chords floating over the ambient sounds of bird’s chirping, creating a warm atmosphere that only shifts to a darker, ominous-sounding piano in the last few seconds of the song. ‘Pandora’ serves as a roomy intro, highlighting the theme indicated in the album cover and setting listeners up, but not at all preparing them for the sonic assault of the album.
The second song, ‘The Illustrator’ throws listeners right into a rhythm-driven metal section, with sweeping leads and beefy chugging – this immediately establishes the core sound of Myth of I that steers the whole album. They take the metal to more progressive territory with massive ascending and descending unison riffs between both guitarists and the bass player – revealing a glimpse of the magnificent bass tone that is achieved on the album. ‘The Illustrator’ depicts the album quite entirely, showing how changing moods and riffs constantly drive the music – a theme the next few songs explore in quite a pleasurable way.
‘Cherophobia’ brings back the vibrant sounds of ‘Pandora,’ eventually building to an ending that is reminiscent of the styles of modern progressive instrumental bands. A contender for best song on the album, ‘Obsidian Vale’ takes aspects from the whole album and adds in progressive elements to amplify them. Clean sustained chords explore a leading drum groove and are followed by a progressive palm-muted riff, which attributes to a massive sound. Halfway through the song, the chirping birds and colorful chords from ‘Pandora’ return, showing that Myth of I have no fear in setting up a theme and allowing it to lead the progression of their record. In this case, it is a strength in helping the record shape masterfully, with each ambient break providing a necessary breather from the progressive metalcore assault.
Myth of I – The Illustrator (click here if the video does not play)
‘Glass Castles’ opens with a strong electronic intro, but quickly slips back into the same metal assault, a theme prevalent on the album – too often letting the djent lead and taking away from the importance of space, emotion, and melody. That being said, the ending guitar solo might be my favorite, giving opportunity for melody to work its magic and displaying their guitar’s tone in a beautiful light, something that can often be missing in the more djent-y foundation. I don’t mean to take away from the musicality of the band, because it is complex and technical, but around the 6th song, ‘Needlepoint,’ I found myself becoming a bit fatigued with the similarity of every song and that’s a trend that extends into the last half of the album, which can make a full-album listen through a bit more of a challenge than a treat.
The second half of the album has many songs that are quality listens. ‘The Maze’ is a longer, more progressive song that builds into their integral heavy sound, introducing a nice juxtaposition between breathing melody and suffocating riffs, allowing for the true potential of the guitarists to be illuminated. The end of the song again sees the return of the ambience from ‘Pandora.’ ‘Kodama,’ much like the end of ‘Cherophobia,’ incorporates Myth of I’s unique metal sound with an upbeat, modern, progressive-instrumental sound, similar to bands like Intervals, Polyphia, and Chon.
Myth of I – Glass Castles (click here if the video does not play)
I find that this works rather well for them and enables their musical aptitude to shine through in a brighter, more eclectic manner; creating emotional earworms that stick with, and hook listeners. The djent-centered, heavy, fast-paced passages work well in building anticipation for the more diverse moments, like this song and the ending of ‘Cherophobia,’ but their scarcity leaves listeners desiring more, rather than building on the beauty that is present.
Myth of I’s self-titled debut album is a good debut album. It displays the virtuosity and songwriting craft of all members; it is technically complex, it is relentless, it is guitar-driven with a heavy keyboard presence, which works well with the music to create a beautiful and often evocative sound. Yet there is something holding it back from being a great debut album, in my opinion, and that is the repetitiveness that can arise in heavy metal instrumentals. While there are rare breaths in the album that give room for melody (and consequently, the emotion that guitar can provide), they are too few and far between; the unyielding assault of the heavy djent riffs proves to be a bit too monotonous, at least for me.
Myth of I – Felix Culpa (click here if the video does not play)
There is a lot to cherish about this album and its underlying virtuosity brings a lot to the “proverbial table” of the prog/djent scene, however, in a similar vein to their EP, it doesn’t provide ample exploration of the beauty that their unique sound could provide. Regardless, I think they are certainly a band to watch out for and I am hoping their next record will see a greater focus on the diverse elements that are beginning to bloom.
- Pandora 01:39
- The Illustrator 05:39
- Cherophobia 04:18
- Obsidian Vale 05:32
- Glass Castles 05:20
- Needlepoint 03:47
- The Maze 07:52
- Kodama 04:57
- 妖怪(ようかい) 01:44
- Felix Culpa 03:47
- Panzer 04:33