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. Continue reading TDM 3-way Review: Archspire – The Lucid Collective
The Radial Covenant (2014)
Germany, Self-released, Technical Death Metal
Waiting for a new Obscura album is very similar waiting for a phone call from a potential significant other. Your palms sweat, you dream about what you are going say. And yet, when that call never comes, the heart is left wanting and waiting. I can imagine with quasi-logical conjecture that many tech-death listeners (me included) feel the same way. Obscura’s third album, Omnivium is perpetually in my car stereo with the digital copy playing on several devices that I own. This yearning however was eased significantly when I downloaded ‘The Radial Covenant” by Obscura’s drummer, Hannes Grossman. To be honest, I expected hearing compositions very similar to Obscura’s material, and while I was not too far off the mark, the music on Grossman’s solo album is indeed an unexpected departure from Obscura’s. Using the always effective analogy here (it works for me), this is like dating your spouse’s twin after a divorce, they may look the same but similarities arte only skin deep. Grossman, being one of the best drummers in metal seemed to know that quality begets quality and thus enlisted the help of several technically savvy musicians such as Jeff Loomis (Conquering Dystopia), Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), Watchtower’s Ron Jarzombek adding leads and fellow “Obscurians” guitarist Christian Muezner and bassist Linus Klausenitzer. The end result as I alluded to earlier should be familiar to Obscura fans and not surprisingly, the album exudes a plethoric majesty that very well could be considered a contender the best technical death metal album of the year. I write this based on three criteria; first, the production of the album is flawless, due to every instrument occupying its own niche in the sonic spectrum. Klausenitzer’s bass can be heard in equal temperament, which is a godsend in a genre where all the instruments in their “virtuosicity” are vying for equality. As far as the drums are concerned, and Grossman’s highly skillful notwithstanding, they echo the same brilliance shining on Obscura’s Omnivium. Continue reading Review: Hannes Grossmann – The Radial Covenant
Poland, Unquiet Records, Technical Death Metal
Banisher spreads his second attack on the unsuspecting listener. The attack is a very direct one. Rarely gives respite so rested mind will be an advantage here. The first thing that strikes the ears is a massive and well-balanced production. With such intensification, flawless production is mandatory. “Scarcity” is quite specific album. Despite their great potential to manipulate the listener on all sides, this gentlemens play generally straight forward metal. Ofcourse, there is a place for a few tempo breakdowns or frivolous progression but it is only a addition. Therefore, instrumentals like “Vanity” and “Incentives” are a little out of context. I think they don’t fit into the concept and only tries to confirm that Banisher can play “nicely”. Continue reading Review: Banisher – Scarcity
HOUR OF PENANCE
Italy, Prosthetic Records, Technical/Brutal Death Metal
Regicide is like an expertly crafted single malt Scotch, in which case Hour of Penance would be an old-fashioned distillery. Similar to an expert producer of the fine elixir from the Islay or Highland region, Hour of Penance have only become more striking and memorable as their 15-year career progresses… unlike the majority of bands which fade to mediocrity. Six albums in and the ecclesiastical crushers keep getting more interesting and refined.
Continue reading Review: Hour of Penance – Regicide
CALLED TO RISE (2013)
United States, Technical Death Metal, Unique Leader Records
Descriptions for Oblivion’s debut full-length Called to Rise typically include adjectives not generally associated with the sub-genre of technical death metal, such as “post” and “blackened,” but the most unique element of Oblivion’s galactic spaceship gets left out of said references: classical. Yes, by that we mean like from Beethoven and all those old dudes.
Titles like “Between the Suns of Light” and “Multiverse” call to mind similar cosmonauts The Zenith Passage, a band in which drummer Luis Martinez also plays, or Xenocide, in the use of slight melodic parts. The album title, as well as the spoken word intro, may be the result of bassist Ben Orum, a founding member and primary writer of All Shall Perish. For a well-versed metalhead though, the piece of the five-man lineup that raises eyebrows will be the occupations/alternate pursuits of Dr. Nick Vasallo, a professor of music and modernist composer, and guitarist Victor Dods, who is currently pursuing a PhD in math. That’s some educated death metal right there! Continue reading Review: Oblivion – Called to Rise