Tag Archives: Technical Death Metal

Nucleus – Sentient

Nucleus - Sentient

Nucleus [USA]
Sentient
2016
Full Length
Unspeakable Axe Records
Death Metal

The early 90s was a great time for death metal, with different regions spawning different takes of an umbrella genre. Yet among the wide variety of death metal that was produced, the American style has always been the least intriguing, with my favourite bands coming instead from the Scandinavia and European regions. Now in 2016, it is nice to hear of bands such as Nucleus that have decided to follow in the path of the Finnish with their debut full length album, Sentient.

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Tech-Death Madness: Interviews with Archspire and Beyond Creation

JACKET

It’s tech-death double bill month as we bring to you two of the most highly technical death metal heroes of the year, Archspire and Beyond Creation. While each band presents different face of tech-death – Archspire‘s brutal and intense style vis-a-vis Beyond Creation‘s neoclassical inspired style, the brilliance exuded by each of their latest masterpieces, The Lucid Collective and Earthborn Evolution respectively leaves one wondering what it is in Canadian waters that is spawning such musical excellence.

Read the interviews with:
Archspire
Beyond Creation

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Album Review: Existential Animals – Surrealith

Existential Animals - Surrealith

Existential Animals [USA]
Surrealith
2014
EP
Independent
Technical Death Metal

With the beautiful, yet haunting artwork on Existential Animals‘ debut EP Surrealith by Paolo Girardi, I almost expected this to be yet another one of those atmospheric, yet crushing death metal releases. Yet the band has proven themselves to be a rather unique death metal band in that their releases thus far have been completely instrumental, with Surrealith containing the band’s first forays into more “normal” death metal with vocals.

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Band of the Month: Hiss from the Moat

hiss from the moat top

Hiss from the Moat epitomises the dominant style of Italian death metal currently – brutal, technical and relentless. Following in the footsteps of compatriots such as Hour of Penance, this three-piece act even boasts James Payne behind the drums, and Paolo on session vocals on their debut album, Misanthropy. We catch up with the band to learn more about the concept behind Misanthropy (which has now been picked up by Nuclear Blast), and the philosophy behind their music.

[Ed’s note: interview conducted in May 2014]

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Album Review: Beyond Creation – Earthborn Evolution

Beyond Creation - Earthborn Evolution

Beyond Creation [Canada]
Earthborn Evolution
2014
Full Length
Season of Mist
Technical Death Metal

We all have our different musical phases, and just as I was stepping out of the technical death metal phase and starting to rediscover Swedish death metal, Canadian technical death metal horde Beyond Creation drops their brand new full length album, Earthborn Evolution. Having already been impressed by their 2011 debut The Aura, there was no way I was gonna give this a miss, knowing the quality of music that the Canadian outfit was capable of writing and playing.

And indeed, right from opening track Elusive Psychological ReverenceBeyond Creation is relentless in delivering high quality technical/progressive death metal. The riffs unleashed by guitarists Simon and Kevin, along with that equally impressive basslines of Dominic quickly brings technical death metal stalwarts Necrophagist and Obscura to mind, with their ability to produce complex yet addictive material.

The progressive aspects are also shown as the album progresses, as Earthborn Evolution sees the band exploring different musical styles, ranging from that Cynic-y title track to the more jazz-fusion styled moments on Abstrait Dialog is rather reminiscent of what I have heard from Exivious. And it is bringing these elements together in a coherent and logical manner that makes Earthborn Evolution such a charm.

With the stellar production quality on Earthborn Evolution, the album also creates quite a nice, soothing atmosphere at times. Furthermore, that entire space-y feel that Beyond Creation emanates on Earthborn Evolution through their playing and the sound of the album at times also reminds one of compatriots Augury and their brand of celestial-themed death metal.

The fact that the entirety of Beyond Creation‘s sophomore doesn’t run for more than 50 minutes adds to the sweetness, preventing the album from being overly mechanical and overstaying its welcome.

[xrr rating =4.5/5]

Beyond Creation on the internet:
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BandCamp
Season of Mist

Album Review: Omnihility – Deathscapes of the Subconscious

Omnihility - Deathscapes of the Subconscious

Omnihiity [USA]
Deathscapes of the Subconscious
2014
Full Length
Unique Leader Records
Technical/Brutal Death Metal

Unique Leader seems to be on a roll recently with the whole string of technical and brutal death metal releases, and I’ll be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy them and found them addictive. Hot on the heels of their last release, Oregon technical death metal band Omnihility releases their sophomore full length album, Deathscapes of the Subconscious. As per so many tech-death releases of late, the combination of demonic and somewhat futuristic imagery on their striking cover artwork was the first to catch my attention, yet as usual it is what is contained on the disc itself that really matters.

Molecular Resurrection immediately reminds listeners of the latest effort of Suffocation with the riffs that are unleashed by Dan the Impaler, with the technicality and complexity infused with the chugging, crushing brutality that is in his playing style, backed by the relentless blasting of drummer Steve Crum. But things get heavier and more suffocating as the album progresses, and the crushing cacophony from the coalescing of each of the instruments result in a sound that is rather reminiscent of bands such as Defeated Sanity and Disgorge.

That said, with the plethora of similar (and high profile) releases of late, such as Origin and Misery Index, it can get really hard to stand out as a band. Inanimate Existence, for instance have that atmospheric thing going on on top of their Deeds of Flesh and Decrepit Birth influences, while Beneath have that slight black metal vibe, along with that groove that they incorporate in their songwriting. Unfortunately, while Omnihility are experts at their craft, there is very little that sets them apart from what other bands have already done, apart from the acoustic interludes on the album, Ancient Ruins Forlorn.

Like the many tech death albums of late, the production on Deathscapes of the Subconscious is superb, polished as hell, though it wouldn’t have hurt to have Isamu’s bass mixed slightly higher for the material on the album to pack more punch. But overall, Omnihility‘s new album is still an enjoyable one for fans of technical/brutal death metal like me.

[xrr rating=4/5]

Omnihility on the internet:
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MySpace
Bandcamp
Unique Leader Records

Album Review: Origin – Omnipresent

Origin - Omnipresent

Origin [USA]
Omnipresent
2014
Full Length
Agonia Records
Technical/Brutal Death Metal

What a ridiculously good year for death metal this has been, with outstanding releases ranging from legends such as Misery Index and Hour of Penance to those of younger bands like The Kennedy Veil and ArchspireOrigin joins the party slightly late with their sixth full length album, Omnipresent, also their debut under the excellent Agonia Records.

With so many good technical death metal releases already, one’s standard would undoubtedly be set higher for veterans who have created and solidified the sound of technical/brutal death metal, and what more of a band of such stature as Origin. Fortunately, being the pros that they are, Origin more than manages to satisfy the ravenous hunger of fans, and Omnipresent leaves one hungry for even more. All Things Dead see the band continuing in the veins of the style that they had laid down on 2011’s Entity, and immediately the majestic riffs unleashed by Paul Ryan crushes the listener like a freight train, reminding one of the style of bands such as Nile or Hour of Penance. This especially so with that technicality and complexity that the band likes to infuse in the midst of all the crushing chaos, and that rather high mix of the bass ingenuity of Mike Flores. Interludes such as Permanence and Continuum especially give the band time to show off their abilities on their instruments, as Paul shows off his neoclassical chops on these tracks.

At the same time, the band retains that slightly grindish edge in their songwriting as well. The urgency in Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex and that sudden breakdown halfway through the track even brings to mind what Wormrot or Insect Warfare would have written, leaving a lasting impact on the listener as though the death metal of Origin weren’t sufficient to suffocate the listener. The usage of shrieks on top of Jason Keyser’s growls also help to reinforce this grind comparison, and is definitely useful in reinforcing the heaviness that is on Omnipresent.

If one loved the material that Origin presented on Entity, then Omnipresent will definitely impress, with the band further solidifying and polishing the sound on this new masterpiece.

[xrr rating=5/5]

Origin on the internet:
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MySpace
Agonia Records

Album Review: Inanimate Existence – A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement

Inanimate Existence - A Never Ending Cycle of Atonement

Inanimate Existence [USA]
A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement
2014
Full Length
Unique Leader Records
Technical/Brutal Death Metal

Over the last year, we have already seen numerous excellent technical and brutal death metal releases, courtesy of Unique Leader Records. Just as one begins to worry that things are gonna get try and same-ish, with release after release ultimately showing the same influences, the label drops Inanimate Existence‘s sophomore full length album, A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement.

Album opener Om Mani Padme Um fits the mood that the cover artwork of the album exudes properly, and one feels as though one were transported into the midst of Mother Nature, a setting fit for quiet meditation. Yet with Omen, the band quickly throws the listener into a chaotic onslaught, with the Hour of Penance and Nile-esque riffs unleashed by Joel and Cameron hitting the listener like a freight train, backed by that relentless beating of the skins by Ron. At the same time, bassist Scott ensures that things are kept heavy with the heavy presence of his bass, and the way he handles the complexity and technicality on the album brings bands such as Origin or even Archspire to mind, and often his bass lines more than just mirror Joel’s and Cameron’s lines, but seek to complement and enhance the overall experience of Inanimate Existence.

Yet Inanimate Existence is more than brutality here, and neither is it simply about technicality, though the melodic and somewhat neoclassical moments that the band tend to indulge in do remind one of the works of bands such as Deeds of Flesh and Decrepit Birth, showing the versatility of the axe-wielding duo. No, what is interesting here is in the whole host of other elements that the band has included to make listening to A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement as exciting as possible, such as that use of traditional percussions on Bioluminescent Photophores creating a somewhat ritualistic mood, or the rather unexpected inclusion of female vocals on The Rune of Destruction, or that somewhat soothing, calming Duelling Shadows, leaving one in retrospection along with the end of the album.

Inanimate Existence may not be the most technical nor the most brutal band that Unique Leader has signed, but with the amount of surprises that the band has hidden on A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement, one can be sure that this is one of the most unique album to be released of late.

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Inanimate Existence on the internet:
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Unique Leader Records

Album Review: Creinium – Project Utopia

Creinium - Project Utopia

Creinium [Finland]
Project Utopia
2014
EP
Inverse Records
Technical Melodic Death Metal

Having already been pampered by so many other impressive death metal artworks this year so far, Finnish technical death metal band Creinium‘s Project Utopia‘s cover looked rather… Amateurish. But as they always say, do not judge a book by its cover, and indeed, looking past the cover artwork and the visual aesthetics of this Finnish outfit, one will soon discover that the real gem is hidden in the musical output of the band.

The band creates a rather epic soundscape with opening track Societal Collapse, with that dramatic ambient synths conjuring that apocalyptic imagery in the listener’s minds, before letting some industrial beats and elements coming into the picture. With such strong synths, backed by electronic elements, one would already have an inkling of the style of Creinium, and the band certainly does not disappoint. As soon as the first riffs of Project Utopia hits the listener’s ears, one is quickly reminded of the style of bands such as The Monolith Deathcult or Septicflesh, with their brand of aggressive death metal backed by a symphonic backdrop, leaving a deep impact on the listener.

Rather than going all out on their speed and aggression, what makes Project Utopia such an impressionable record is the way the tracks are written, and despite this being a short 5 track EP, Creinium makes full use of every second on the record. The band cleverly includes and utilises slower moments on the album to build up the climax and the tension in the air that the listener feels, and these are often accompanied by nice, melodic leads by guitarist Tone and Mikko, along with the synths at the back creating the ominous mood.

There is so much going on in just 30 minutes on Creinium‘s new EP that after numerous listens, one still continuously finds new things that further enrich the experience. Definitely one of the bands to look out for.

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

 

Creinium on the internet:
Official website
Facebook
Inverse Records

Album Review: Wretched – Cannibal

Wretched - Cannibal

Wretched [USA]
Cannibal
2014
Full Length
Victory Records
Technical Death Metal/Deathcore

American technical death metal band Wretched this year releases their brand new album, Cannibal, and only my second death metal encounter with Victory Records. With the band’s past few releases garnering rather impressive feedback, and the current run of excellent technical death metal releases this year, I was certainly excited to hear what Wretched has to offer on Cannibal.

After the rather mid-paced Gold Above Me, the band kicks things up a notch rather unexpectedly with Morsel, and immediately the myriad of technical and complex riffs quickly exhibit the talents and virtuosity of each of the band members, though the focus here seems to be very much on the work of the axe-wielding duo Steven and Joel. The riffs that are unleashed by them easily reminds one of the work of bands such as Spawn of Possession or Necrophagist in the technicality that is displayed, though they often indulge in more melodic moments throughout as well, preventing the album from the pitfall of becoming yet another lifeless and emotion-less tech-death release. This fusion of intensity, melody and emotions is perhaps what brings about the comparison to The Black Dahlia Murder that Wretched has encountered since their first releases.

That said, each of the other instrumentation on the album also aid in the experience of Cannibal. For instance, the bass of Andrew is rather high in the mix, and on top of providing much of the low-end growl to Cannibal, it also allows him to display his technical abilities, often following the complex lines of Steven and Joel with much ease. Marshall’s drumming is also stellar, as he sets the pace for the band, often switching between different styles and rhythm to mess with the listener’s minds. But it is also Adam’s vocals that helped in making the Cannibal listening experience rather fulfilling, as he alternates between higher pitch shrieks and growls, fitting the mood and emotions that are on each of the tracks.

While there are a few rather core-ish moments on the album, with the few breakdowns that are littered throughout, the technical aspects of Cannibal more than sufficiently makes up for these, and overall Wretched‘s new album is still a pretty enjoyable one.

[xrr rating=4/5]

Wretched on the internet:
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Victory Records