After releasing two albums that firmly entrenched them as pillars of the metalcore genre, Cleveland, OH's INHALE EXHALE realized it was time to take a cue from one of their state's most famous edifices – the Pro Football Hall of Fame – and go for that glorious Hail Mary.
Since first emerging on Solid State Records in 2006, the experimental metalers have been recognized for their bruising, albeit artful, take on hard rock, praised as much for being forward-looking and progressive as they are faithful to the brutal metal and bombastic hardcore that preceded them. But with their forthcoming third full-length, Bury Me Alive, INHALE EXHALE have rewritten their playbook. Now, they're smearing that paint under their eyes, digging in their cleats and getting ready to go all-in with what is shaping up to be one of the year's most captivating and powerful releases.
"We are the most excited we've been since the creation of INHALE EXHALE," says guitarist and primary songwriter John LaRussa of Bury Me Alive. "This is the first record that we all really sit and listen to and enjoy 100%. We love our other two albums, but this is the album we've always wanted to write." What's not debatable about Bury Me Alive is that it's INHALE EXHALE's heaviest album – good news for fans of the band's earliest thrash-and-burn assaults. But it's also a career-defining exercise in dynamics an energy, with squelchy, feral guitars cascading off singer Ryland Raus' commanding screams and pleading melodies. It's a dizzying give-and-take of brawny riffage and chiming, atmospheric guitar tapestries, like PANTERA yanking SHUDDER TO THINK's Craig Wedren out of the crowd and throwing a guitar in his hands. Giving the album further dimension are producer (and longtime IE collaborator) Travis Wyrick (P.O.D., Dolly Parton) and mixing by Devin Townsend (Soilwork, Misery Signals).
"It challenges us," says LaRussa of the band's new music. "We wanted to create something fresh and original. We go into each record as if it's our last." Lyrically, Bury Me Alive deals with themes of brokenness and loss, of judgment and failure. Ultimately, however, it gravitates towards something reconciled, something hopeful, which has been a motif of INHALE EXHALE since the band's formation in
2005. The spiritually minded band hasn't wasted any time in spreading that message either – Bury Me Alive is the band's third album in nearly as many years, on the heels of 2006's acclaimed breakthrough The Lost. The Sick. The Sacred. and last year's more experimental turn I Swear .... While it may seem like the band is stepping on the gas to capitalize on the excitement of those previous releases, the writing of Bury Me Alive happened organically – if a laptop counts as organic. LaRussa and his trusty Mac began the process, after which he recorded the songs with Gator on drums. Then Raus and bassist Greg Smith pitched in, the band worked on the songs together for a week or so, and shazam – a linebacker of an
album was born. "We are a very professional band," LaRussa smiles. "Not bragging, but we got our crap together."
The release of Bury Me Alive ends a hiatus of sorts for INHALE EXHALE. The band laid low for a few months in 2009, during which babies were born and marriages were performed. Now, after some well-earned downtime, the workhorses are ready to reunite with the fans that motivate their every move. "We are just musicians that got the chance to share our music with the world," LaRussa says humbly. "We
want our music to impact someone and move someone. We want to excite people with this record and we want to be as transparent and real as we can be. Most of all, this music is fun, and we hope people have a good time listening to Bury Me Alive."
They've written the album of their career. Now INHALE EXHALE are taking to the field, they're going deep, and they're not coming home without a win.