Essential in requirement, technical ability is a must in the arena of Technical Death Metal but so many forgoe the core of songwriting in favour of ridiculous chops. Arriving on the scene with their Season of Mist debut, Archspire turned more heads than Regan did in the Exorcist. Following their incredible success of The Lucid Collective, the Canadians have done more than just prove themselves worthy of the title of kings of Tech Death, then they went further and released Relentless Mutation…
Such is the critical mass of Relentless Mutation, the record is a mere 31 minutes long. For those who might be put off by the short running time, do not fret. If anything, its a positive given the unwavering stance of Tech Death, as intricate as it might be, after a while can be samey. Opening the record debut single “Involuntary Doppelgänger” instantly launches you into hyperdrive. Despite their more Sci-Fi style leanings, the band bring in a Neo classical touch on the likes of “Human Murmuration” sounding like a dysmorphic Muse its introduction might be melodic but the second that vocalist Oli Peters gets behind the mic the flurry of words are unstoppable.
Special mention should go to the singer for his pin point accuracy in “Calamus Will Animate“, easily placing him atop the pile of Technical Death Metal vocalists. Interesting given that a lot of the technicality is focused on instrumentation, here the vocals are one of the focal points of the track itself. Improving on The Lucid Collective, rather than sound like a cardboard box, Dave Otero‘s beautiful production lets each instrument ring true throughout the listen, a big improvement on the drums. Jared Smith’s bass coming through on title track “Relentless Mutation” shows more dynamism to the band, changing the pace and feel of the record, before yet another mechanical onslaught. Most importantly, despite its mechanical nature, the material put forward on Relentless Mutation is never boring, nor is it too hard to follow.
“A Dark Horizontal“, the album’s magnum opus at a whopping six minutes is a real statement from a band the likes of Archspire. Flitting from Suffocation-esque rhythms to a quasi alien like Bach section before finally achieving its final form seeing all elements experimented with throughout the album come together. Having already shown the tip of their iceberg of potential in The Lucid Collective, Archspire have returned with a stronger sense of songwriting. Gone are the meandering lead sections that might have faulted them ever so slightly and here is a fine tuned, well oiled killing machine. Combining memorable melody with some of the most technical instrumentation out there today, Archspire have not only proved themselves worthy of the position at the very top of technical mountain but one that is just as multifaceted as it is spellbinding in a genre than can be dangerously one dimensional.