OXYGEN:EXHALE is the ninth studio release from Canada natives Thousand Foot Krutch, and the follow-up to 2014’s OXYGEN:INHALE. Immediately noticeable, EXHALE is more aggressive than its counterpart INHALE; the guitar has more presence and a heavier tone while the bass gracefully carries the low end with a full and clear sound. The overall tone of EXHALE truly feels like it was written to be the heavier side of the OXYGEN meta concept, with fewer slower spots and much more punch.
EXHALE opens with a rhythmic pounding before jumping right into gear with “Running With Giants,” the third single to be released. Right from the opening riff of “Running With Giants,” EXHALE establishes a heavier sound than the previous album, and it comes out of the gate swinging. The album then moves “Incomplete,” the second single to be released. “Incomplete” features upbeat, energetic verses before moving into a heavier pre-chorus that sets up a really large chorus that almost sounds like anthem that people will certainly want to sing along to.
Moving on to “Give up the Ghost,” the album starts to pick up the aggressive pace a little more. The bass really shines during the verse in this song with its driving bass line. “Give up the Ghost” is also home to some of the most inspirational lyrics on the album, such as: “They never told me that I could be/Free from the hate that’s inside of me/They took my place, took my dignity/They kept me caged like an enemy”. Next up is “The River.” This song has a slow, heavy, and powerful groove with a touch of a southern rock feel added on to it.
Now, at about the halfway point, we move on to “Push.” This track has prominent rap style vocals during the verse, which smoothly transitions into the more familiar singing of Trevor. “Off the Rails” brings it back to that upbeat, energetic swing previously encountered in “Incomplete.” However, unlike “Incomplete,” “Off the Rails” continues the upbeat throughout the entire song. Next is “Adrenaline.” This song is very aptly named; it begins with frantically rapped vocals and just keeps moving at a fast pace for the duration of the song.
EXHALE gives us a moment to catch our breath with the next song, “Lifeline.” While not slow by any means, this song favors a more groove-based approach before launching into a mellower, more melodic chorus. The sirens that follow this song mark the arrival of the next song, “Can’t Stop This.” Like the title implies and Trevor reminds us several times throughout, this is a very driving song that shows no signs of fatigue or wearing down. “Born Again,” the first single released from EXHALE, encompasses what this album is all about: a heavy, melodic groove. This was the perfect choice for a leading single; it exhibits everything that can be expected from this release. EXHALE closes with “Honest,” the only slower song on the album. “Honest” features emotional lyrics that focus on honesty and truth. As the closing song, this track changes directions from everything else; it has very prominent string arrangements, the heavy distortion of the guitars has been foregone in favor of acoustic playing, and minimal drums.
OXYGEN:EXHALE is the perfect companion and follow-up to OXYGEN:INHALE. For the already-established fans that were wanting a little more heaviness after INHALE, this album will certainly not disappoint. For those who have never listened to Thousand Foot Krutch, it will be a great introduction to what this band is about.