It’s been two years since Trevor McNevan and Thousand Foot Krutch have stepped to the plate with new music but, judging from the music on their latest, OXYGEN:INHALE, it hasn’t been idle time. The new release finds the band working from an renewed viewpoint, releasing the album independently on TFK music and the result is an album with a familiar sound but an invigorated sound and energy, the band really seeming to enjoy their newfound freedom to create.
Thematically, the album seems to evolve from a series of tracks that evoke elements of struggle, loss, and angst while then resolving those issues through experiences of finding hope as shown in later tracks. Speaking to the theme hinted at in the title, front man Trevor McNevan offers, “Oxygen is our lifeline. It’s what keeps us alive and breathing. Most of us spend our entire lives taking half breaths when we were created to take full breaths. To live life to its fullest, to treat every day like it might be our last, and treat other people the same way. We can’t see it, but we need it. It exists. It fuels everything we are.”
And from the first track on, Thousand Foot Krutch is laying it all on the line.
Things start out strong with the first track “Like A Machine” as the band hits hard right out of the gate, crunchy guitars and throbbing bass riffs which frame McNevan’s voice perfectly before “Untraveled Road” delivers some hip-hop flows and Linkin Park-flavored rock schemes accompanied by some organic handclaps that lend that perfect something extra. But it’s “Born This Way” that really shines the brightest, highlighted by a bluesy guitar riff and McNevan at his vocal peak, reaching and rocking with ease as he delivers an in your face lyric.
“Set Me On Fire” slows the tempo just a bit, the vocals mellowed against a subtle backdrop while “Give It To Me” is pure rock with its muscled heavy runs and shouted vocals that ooze with passion. And with “I See Red” the passion continues as McNevan sings of brokenness and a need for more, the track’s hook solid and radio ready, opening things perfectly for the album’s final tracks which point to a place of hope.
Hope is exactly what emerges with the soft ballad of “Light Up” and the keyboard infused plea of “In My Room.” “Oxygen” is the answer to the protagonist’s questions and the mid-tempo rock supports it solidly before “Glow” closes things out solidly, a creatively quiet closer that paints a beautiful picture of peace in the presence of God.
Thousand Foot Krutch’s OXYGEN:INHALE is a great addition to TFK’s canon of music, finding the band stretching their wings and delivering an album that takes a few risks but continues to deliver what their fans have come to expect over the years. McNevan’s voice has never sounded better and the band rocks it for all it’s worth and ably manages the downtempo tracks just as well, showcasing a broad range for a band that will continue to build its fan base with this record.