Nothing beats a high-speed face-melting blast beat but comes to a point when speed becomes senseless, drumming becomes a matter of flexing muscles, and the songwriting becomes a competition of who’s the fastest. That point is what I like to call the “Archspire point”.
As much as previous releases were surprisingly fast, this one is a reiteration of everything that worked for the Canadian formation: relentless blast beats, crazy speed on all the instruments and it feels like the band is racing towards the end of the album, whoever finishes first wins. Now I am a fierce lover of all things fast and brutal, but one’s ear can sense when these components come from a band’s guts, when they spill all the anger, the rage, and the violence into their album, and when they’re fast just for the sake of it, inefficiently doing so.
Face punching fast intros, melodic interludes, heavy breaks, and growling vocals at Eminem’s singing speed (and eventually inverting the order of those components), all the meme material which took Archspire to fame, and they surely chose to stay up there, lazily using a formula which worked. Apart from a few riffs which stand out, the whole album sounds like one single song repeatedly, the same song which was played on their previous release “Relentless mutation”.
The trap when you play technical death metal is that you might end up playing overly technical music for the sake of showing off, and that’s a trap the 5 Canadians have failed to avoid. In fact, very few bands are able to play efficiently technical material, leaving a chosen few on top of the tech-death pyramid.
Albums like these bring back the “technical genius vs creative genius” debate, and no one could deny the technical mastery of the band’s musicians, but the lack of creativity has left Archspire out of the “best technical metal bands debate”.
Release Year: 2021
Label: Season of Mist
Reviewed by Oussama EL OUADIE