THE LUCID COLLECTIVE (2014)
Canada, Season Of Mist, Technical Death Metal
I remember the day when I heard first Archspire promo. Then I thought it was some bizarre form of experimental electronic music – most likely, generated by a computer. Then I watched a few clips on Youtube and I was a bit surprised at the idea of practicing such intense death metal art. It turned out that human abilities are not restricted to the extent that “All Shall Align” became our number 1 album in 2011 on technicaldeathmetal.com. With Archspire is a bit like with Rings Of Saturn. Space pace and great intensity causes some black holes. Hence, these teams have enough supporters as opponents. Certain is You can’t be indifferent listening to “The Lucid Collective”. For me it recalls the extreme performances of Jason Becker’s and I’m prone to such virtuosic “destruction”. On the second album the band clearly went toward expanding compositions. Bravely borders on neo-classicism but not as “wide” as Spawn Of Possession. They are rather stroking the genre which is desecrated by routine meltdowns or breakdowns if you prefer. Fortunately, they are not intrusive and too common. Surely we can find a lot more blasts than the first one.
If the band can be both wild and organized then Archspire is. Their music is based on multiple layers and although sometimes it may seem chaotic – it’s just an illusion. Boldly breaking tempo and effectively juggle between crazy percussion escapades and acoustic strokes. Progress is great though their nature has remained the same. Canadians continue to spit out thousands of notes and combine incredible finesse with an interesting everflowing rhythms. They are also a showcase of stop & go craziness. Within one minute a progressive machine turns into a rushing, furious rhythm chaser, which is constantly being raped by a superhuman stops. The enormity of diversity requires us to look forward to the next turn and makes you want more. You do not know what will happen in a moment but You should prepare. This unpredictability pays, grossly increasing the level of extremity. Forget the guitar masturbation. The technique here translates into concrete blast. If you are not discouraged by synthetic drums and insane intensity, it will go downhill. I mention this because, on the one hand it ensures jaw-drop but on the first contact it may seem too dry and processed. If you wade through it then the rest will be pure poetry. The highest form of madness, and probably the best technical album of the year. I recommend!
Rating: 10/10 – Rimmon
“Dense Digital Delusions”
The TDM staff selected All Shall Align as album of the year in 2011, but, unfortunately I must admit that I had not even heard any of the band’s material until the discussion began. Hence, I arrived late for the party. Better late than never though, eh? I made sure not to repeat that mistake this year, and purchased The Lucid Collective on release day.
I had high expectations, not only because of their previous release, but by the band’s posted lineup, which includes eight-string guitar, seven-string guitar, and six-string fretless bass. If that technically inclined setup doesn’t catch the interest of a fan of the music covered here, well, I am not quite sure what would. Except perhaps the mind-expanding, hallucinogenic songwriting on The Lucid Collective.
The record sounds like a robot’s acid trip. Exploratory yet rigid, progressive yet precise, the 34-minute techstravaganza calls to mind if the Borg merged with the Holodeck. Anyone familiar with Archspire should know the collective revels in extremity, and their prowess has only improved by adding dreamlike progressive moments.
If galactic death destruction through extreme musicianship is your thing, or guitar squeals and drum devastation get you all riled up, The Lucid Collective will take your mind to new heights. Mandatory.
Rating: 9.5/10 – Witness to the Void
With all its complexity in the instrumental arrangements, tech-death (to use the layman’s term) needs to transcend the listener’s expectations and thus journey to uncharted realms. Convoluted explanations aside, for a tech-death band to be successful in this niche, a group has to evolve in order to distance itself from more traditional and mainstream genres .Its evolution may be akin to punctuated equilibrium, a process where evolution is steady for quite some time until sporadic stabs of change occur or a band’s evolution may be sudden, diverting its style drastically from its last album. This is where Archspire contributes to the evolutionary process with their newest album The Lucid Collective. It shows signs of a decidedly marked progression with two main factors. First, their vocalist most likely could be considered a death metal rapper, not too dissimilar from The Wu-Tang Clan. His vocal delivery is a razor sharp assault of lyrics, piercing to the listener thus claiming a high degree of audibility. Secondly, and please allow me to deviate from my journalistic voice and exclaim “Holy Crap! The snare! The snare!’It is an instrument all unto its own, completely independent of the drum set, spitting out controlled, albeit chaotic breakneck 32 second note patterns. This continues prevalently on The Lucid Collective, especially on the blistering second track “Scream Feeding” where the snare is hell-bent on beating the listener into a delightful form of mindless slavery. Other tracks such “The Plague of Am” and “Join us beyond” show us so much of what we come to expect and desire from out-worldy tech-death such as this one. There are numerous instances of master-class type sweep picking coupled with a “ lead bass” that is thankfully high in the mix( including a small bass outro at the end of “ Seven Crowns and the Oblivion Chain”).What could be jarring though for neophytes into the extreme metal genre is the tumultuous barrage of accelerated tempo in most of the songs. This is indeed a continuous barrage of sound. Yet, perhaps this is what Archspire desires, setting apart its music from the rest of the genre. I would say this is what the tech-death organism is evolving into. And what a beast it is.
Rating: 10/10 – SilentDeepOcean
Average rating: 9.8/10