Myth of I – Myth of I Review

The gentle field recordings kicking off Myth of I‘s self-titled debut album are just what I need to hear in the midst of experiencing a global pandemic. The sound of birds chirping delicately and water rippling steadily over a bed of rocks calm my nerves and help to flatten the emotional rollercoaster I’ve been wringing myself on. As one might be able to forecast, this opening period of serenity presented by a progressive metal band was bound to come to an end. Introductory track “Pandora” merely serves as a lush and tranquil setup for the truly fitful storm that invades the meat of Myth of I‘s first full-length album.

Ever since I was first introduced to metal, I’ve been rather intimidated by the subgenre of progressive metal. Perhaps this feeling is entirely unfounded and irrational. Perhaps it’s due to the extreme technical virtuosity of musicians in the progressive metal bands I’ve been exposed to. This awe with progressive metal was quickly reinforced after seeing Animals as Leaders live in 2016 and, more recently, Consider the Source just last year. I mean c’mon. Don’t tell me your jaw doesn’t drop to the floor while watching Javier Reyes and Tosin Abasi’s imposing, majestic, and calculated guitar wizardry. As a result of these experiences, I believe I have subconsciously avoided hovering over any promos flirting with the genre thus far out of apprehension. Only now did I finally feel up to the challenge. As if their genre of choice wasn’t intimidating enough, Myth of I is a Boston-based group which arose from the dorms of the esteemed Berklee College of Music in 2013. After re-releasing their first EP in 2017 (the original release in 2015 didn’t quite have the vibe they were after) Myth of I have slowly but surely primed themselves to shake up the progressive metal scene vigorously.

While it’s true that Myth of I‘s musical style most closely resembles that of Plini or Animals as Leaders, their first full-length is an eclectic mix of genres that I don’t think I’ve heard butting up next to each other on a single album before. Second track “The Illustrator” alone is an amalgam of heavy djent riffage, industrial metal, orchestral swells, and even a hint of chiptune. “Obsidian Vale,” my personal favorite track on the album, is more atmospheric and jazz-inspired while at the same time making nods back to the gorgeous intro track. “Glass Castles” is a real headbanger featuring the unanticipated sound of an organ a minute in, and “Needlepoint” and “The Maze” skirt around a black metal sound with blast beats and tremolo picking galore. A common theme throughout the album is for djenty guitar to follow the lead of pacifying piano parts in the opening moments of each song. “Kodama,” which features what sounds like a fretless guitar midway through, is no exception.1

Myth of I challenge their listeners to stay engaged. They kept me on my tippy toes every second of the album, so much so that it at times became overwhelming. Myth of I is not an album for letting your mind wander to. For if you do, the voracious  instrumentation will blow right by you, and the tracks will start to blend together. Despite the calm before the storm in the first track and a smattering of other field recording appearances throughout the rest of the album, the majority of Myth of I is jittery and anxiety-inducing, not exactly the cup of tea I want to be drinking at this point in time. And I do feel that Myth of I is missing a vocal part to draw your attention to and to pull together the onslaught of instrumental madness. I’m usually the last to grumble about this; my favorite song of all time is purely instrumental.

Each time I listen to Myth of I is like opening a treasure chest of new surprises. Though some may find themselves getting bogged down while making their way through Myth of I‘s dense and adventurous debut material, that is no reason to give it the cold-shoulder. The Boston quartet’s awe-inspiring debut should not be overlooked.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: The Artisan Era
Websites: mythofi.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/MythofI
Releases Worldwide: April 10th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. If the fretless guitar sound is your jam, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not adding Consider the Source (progressive sci-fi middle eastern fusion) to your list of bands to check out.
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