May 12, 2014

TECH DEATH WEEK Part I: Archspire - The Lucid Collective (2014)

If 2013 was the year I got back into black metal via the advent of Marco black metal, 2014 is shaping up to be the year I once again become interested in technical death metal. It looks like a ton of tech death bands have put out new albums while my back was turned, including some old favorites of mine, so I think it's time I got back in the game.

Having said that, we're kicking off a week-long series of daily articles, each focusing on one tech death album released in 2014. For the first time, I will be using a pro/con system to rate every release, so it's easy for you to figure out which albums you're most interested in. 

So if you're a fan of technical death metal or just looking to get acquainted with the genre, join me for a week of dick-snapping drumming, mind-bending guitar wizardry, gut-puncturing bass lines, throat-ripping vocals and lyrics so science-y they would make Stephen Hawking's head spin!

This Monday, we're blasting this series off in full force with the sophomore album by Canadian tech death neuromancers Archspire, entitled The Lucid Collective. The original "sweet bros" initially made their name known in 2011 with their first album, All Shall Align, which was an enticing cut of quality technical death metal constructed out of sweep picking, cargo shorts and shaved heads. The Lucid Collective sees the Vancouver outfit upping their game every way imaginable: this whole album is an outstanding display of technicality and aggression.

The sci-fi theme of the album is a perfect vehicle for showcasing the band's skills: there's pretty much non-stop drum kit abuse, with blast beats and interesting fills flying around like shrapnel; their guitar-work is more creative than ever, with numerous tempo and mood changes, ranging from futuristic guitar lines to artillery-like riffs that pound away at your very sanity; the bassist lays down intricate grooves to compliment the spaced-out atmosphere and the vocals are the most impressive element of this album. They're very varied, with percussive, violent barks, growling and high pitched shrieks constantly rotating across songs, providing even more dynamics to the tracks. You only need to hear the song Fathom Infinite Depth to know these guys are really on to something: it starts off with what I can only describe as death metal rapping, moves on to all-out sonic warfare, morphs into an atmospheric ambient piece then quickly resumes the carnage. All in all, The Lucid Collective is an awe-inspiring album and one that will surely place Archspire in the great pantheon of tech death masters. 

Oh, and they've also included a song which references I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. Nerd status: confirmed.


- amazing cover art 
- sci-fi themed songs that RIP
- jaw-dropping technicality
- next-level vocals
- br00tal snare sound


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