Newly reorganized under rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Seth Hecock, Becoming the Archetype returns to its core principles on this unrelentingly brutal set. Taking over lead vocals from Jason Wisdom, Chris McCane embodies the apocalyptic ferocity of BTA’s lyrics with throat-shredding growls that cut through the tracks like a broadsword. Lead guitarist Dan Gailey continues his role as the band’s defining player, combining technically impressive fretwork with a visceral thrust steeped in death metal. The tracks on I Am unfold like chapters in a fantasy novel, anchoring their convulsive imagery in an unshakable Christian faith. BTA avoids the prog embellishments of earlier projects in favor of seething breakdowns and blast-beat eruptions that underscore themes of suffering and redemption. Tunes like “The Ocean Walker” (boasting a near-boogie groove punctuated with blazing riffage), “The Eye of the Storm” (a headbanging invocation of chaos), and “The War Ender” (combining a manic thrash tempo with an eerie synthesizer backdrop) reaffirm BTA’s trademark fusion of intensity and finesse.