No more Technical Death Metal this year. That was the iron-clad directive from RMR management some months ago. And indeed, the RMR ‘zine suffered its fair share of this often overly nerdy genre in these first 10 months or so of a very long 2021.
Those findings ranged from pseudo-Nippon bloatware with benefits to what one could avidly describe as some totally savvy cosmic crossover, we got it all.1) So, the RMR pathfinders weren’t exactly keen on torturing our ear canals with more distorted sounds of that ilk.
But why did we immediately latch on to the heir apparent of the archetype of the dorky tech death world?
First off, because defying instructions is fun. But more importantly, right off the bat Archspire‘s Bleed the Future speeds faster than the ball the proverbial bat just hit. And they do that with a precision that frankly took my breath away. But then, if you go five times the speed of sound, you better coordinate or it will all end up in a friggin’ mess.
And in truth, it was one of those Holy Metal Cow moments. Once you fire up, everything else around you ceases. It’s as if Anaal Nathrak ditched the pigs and went full tilt rocket-fueled tech death. And I truly haven’t yet found a band that teaches a lesson or three to the likes of Fleshgod Apocalypse. Of course, the Italians’ credo includes a lot of bluster and even more symphonics. But in its barebone state, they’re not all that different.
And finally, I found a band with a shred of wise reasoning in their high-speed metal brainz. The record’s airtime is – at some 31,5 minutes – barely long enough to qualify as a full-length. Yet for once, I am truly grateful. If you are going to stuff your record chock-a-block with a frontal assault of tech-metal on a lightspeed setting, keep it short and crisp at least. And that is exactly what Archspire did. Lest they overload this reviewer’s brain cells. Impossible to reconnect neurons at higher velocities than the CERN2) particle collider allows.
And these guys truly ride the fast lane on that particular highway. But – as with muscle cars – everybody can step on the gas to 250 mph. But only a master will control the beast once things go awry. And Archspire just sent us that concept of proof.
I frankly understood no word of the ceaseless rapid rasps. But they’re scorching that metal underground just enough to avoid hampering the mighty riffing and the bite of those shortish solos that suddenly wail away. Yet, the drum work really threw me. It provides that solid foundation that is so important to success. If only it would not collide with that bass struggling to bubble to the surface every so often.
And never mind that the short runtime is already fully packed. The tastefully spaced acoustic and ambient sections truly add that counterweight to this cosmic avalanche of Extreme Metal. Boy, Bleed the Future even contains some experimentation. Hit Reverie on the Onyx and be amazed. First, classical acoustics ring out, then a variety of versions of how one might play this in tech-death speak will follow. Or, let’s have an FAQ just for the heck of it. A.U.M. voices the corny demand3), and Archspire obliges with a few friggin’ hammer blows.
Archspire never ceased to amaze yours truly with the amount of heavy music one can stuff into half an hour of madness. By Loki, it took me some ten spins to get to the bottom of this record. The Swiss techie masters of Stortregn aren’t all that far away from Bleed The Future, but this band here really scored on density and – indeed – precision.
Finally though, Archspire just sent us a friggin’ masterclass. Bleed the Future is an intense tour-de-force. One that will teach all those metal technicians out there how Technical Death Metal ought to sound. Played with manic energy, gusto worse than a dozen cans of energy drinks, and musical skills that left us speechless a few times.
Not something you should attempt to consume without body armor and heat shields up. By the Holy Metal Cow, it doesn’t get much better in this difficult 2021.4)