Album: Relentless Mutation
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Release Date: September 22nd, 2017
As a big fan of Technical Death Metal I always strive to find the newest and brightest bands out there with something to offer. The only problem with this particular genre as a whole is that there are plenty of bands that sound very similar to each other and as a result the sheer extremity of the music that is being created loses its effect to a certain degree. Archspire have been making waves throughout the genre and with their third full length outing named ‘Relentless Mutation’ ready to be dropped they are sitting pretty. The previous two outings ‘All Shall Reign’ and ‘The Lucid Collective’ have served the Canadian outfit well in outlining their plan of attack which when you lay it out is pretty simple: To be as technically proficient and devastatingly heavy as they can be. So now we see what the gentleman have brought to the table for their latest offering of molten hot metal.
The album opens with the track ‘Involuntary Doppelganger’ which wastes no time in kicking a hole straight through the listener’s ear drum with its high paced, complex riffing and pummelling drum beats. There is no doubt that the boys have stepped up their game with the musicianship here which is no small feat as they all showed off some pretty impressive chops on ‘ The Lucid Collective’. It becomes apparent very quickly here that guitarists Dean Lamb and Tobi Morelli are at the top of their game with some mind bending guitar work including sweep picking, tapping and riffs with the kind of ferocity that could snap the neck of anyone who dares to headbang along. Couple that in with the expansive sound that is created by the rhythm section of Spencer Prewett on drums and Jared Smith on bass and it looks like Archspire are on to a winner here. The vocals from Oliver Rae Aleron are something of a talking point. On one hand, they are something new, entirely low and at such high speed that they almost sound like someone beatboxing. On the other hand they are so low in the mix that they become almost inaudible and almost unnecessary as they really add nothing to the track.
The second track on the album ‘Human Murmuration’ is a real highlight. The guitarists are once again leading the way with some impressive work. The introduction gives the gentlemen a chance to show off a number of different guitar techniques that they have at their disposal with a mixture of finger picking, tapping and tremolo riffs that give the guitar nerds among the audience (such as myself) something to really sink their teeth into. The complex rhythmic sections that have been laid down by Prewett and Smith keep the attention of the listener switching constantly as they demand attention in their own right with their technical prowess and overall tightness together. The guitar leads are traded off so well and at such a high standard that once again you almost wish that this track was solely an instrumental so that you could give them your full attention.
The album carries on very much in the same fashion. There are plenty off riffs and impressive guitar parts for the audience to be entertained with. The bass riffs are more inventive and interesting than a lot of bands can muster for their six-stringers and couple that in with the way it links up with the relentlessly technical drum beats and percussive vocals create an unrelenting metal assault. In the latter stages of the album there appears to be no sign of slowing up or a shift in the dynamic that has served this album so well. The track ‘Calamus Will Animate’ which begins with a barrage of the drums fills and vocals before once again putting the pedal to the floor and delivering a tirade of down-tuned riffing, blast beats and the overall hellacious heaviness that your ears have been subjected over the course of this release.
Overall I would say that Archspire have really grown with ‘Relentless Mutation’. Everything that the band brought together on ‘The Lucid Collective’ has been refined, sharpened and worked into a fine release of Technical Death Metal tracks. Once again it has to be said that the instrumental side of this band are the true asset. The two guitarists are among the best in the business at this current time as far as their ability goes and more importantly they have the right chemistry and flow between them to create brutal metal music without it becoming just noise or Emmure-esque chugging. My one true gripe with Archspire lies in the vocal approach of Oliver Rae Aleron. There are hints throughout this album that he has the chops to deliver more than just the Tasmanian Devil inspired noise that is on display for the majority of this release. Whilst I applaud the attempt to create a unique sound when it comes to the vocals delivery here rather than just being another sheep in the Tech-Death heard, it becomes very tiresome very quickly to just have someone muttering at you like a child attempting to burp their way through the alphabet to impress friends. This is my eyes is a very talented vocalist that is not using his ability which some people may find appealing but in my own personal opinion (and it is just that) it is a real shame.
A solid album that could have been so much more.
1. Involuntary Doppelganger
2. Human Murmuration
3. Remote Tumour Seeker
4. Relentless Mutation
5. The Mimic Well
6. Calamus Will Animate
7. A Dark Horizontal
Total Playing Time: 31:13