Tech Death Thursday: Big Sounds, Little Albums


As the tech world is bereft of big releases this week, let’s check out some small ones! Turn your ears towards these bite-sized offering from VaultingClavicus Vile, and A Distorted Utopia.

First, a couple news items:

  • Ulcerate released the title track from their upcoming Shrines of Paralysis. It’s very bleak, like the sound of industrial decay condensed into audio. I’m very much looking forward to it when it releases on the 28th of October.
  • Gorod put out a bizarre new video for “The Mystic Triad of Artistry.” I still think it’s odd that they’re putting out videos for an album that’s almost a year old, but as long as they stay entertaining, I won’t complain.
  • Apparently, people still care enough about Skyrim to write songs about it. Check out “Fo Sivaas,” the newest from Ophidius, and look for The Way of the Voice on October 14th.

It’s not often that you hear tech death and grind mentioned in the same breath, but Vaulting have taken the two disparate genres and mixed them together to great effect on Vanitas. The pairing makes sense, bringing together the extreme musicianship with the raw aggression of grind, and I find it kind of surprising that there aren’t many more bands out there doing it. In any case, Vaulting have been around for some time now and have their sound honed to a razor’s edge. Vanitas explores every aspect of the band’s style in right around 11 minutes; the opening salvo of “Fisch” and “Deine Hässlichkeit” and centerpiece “Allmutter” are intense, technical monstrosities that jump between crunchy low-end riffing and slippery harmonized leads. “Monoton,” my favorite of the bunch, sprinkles droplets of noise (harmonics? Pick scrapes? Both?) between pulverizing guitar blows, and “Arnold” and “Apfelbaum” showcase them at their most melodic. There’s a lot going on here, and all of it’s great.

Clavicus Vile is not for the faint of heart; of the bands featured here tonight [Editor’s Note: Spear is so might he pierces the veil of space and time], they are far and away the shreddiest. Musically, they sit somewhere between Brain Drill and Archspire, hitting the obscene speed of the former while keeping the melodic mindset of the latter. The Incipiency has something that neither of those two has, however: it sounds human. Between the oddly quiet guitar and the thin, non-triggered drums, you’ll notice the low production values right away. Though it might not be the most pleasant to listen to (the drums in particular sound a little sad), it largely works in the album’s favor. You can hear small slip-ups and inconsistencies that give the record character, and it lets you know that when you hear the guitarists ripping through a dueling solo or a crazy string of gravity blasts, it’s the real thing. If you thirst for tons of notes punctuated by moments of heavy emotion, then this one is for you.

I only just recently discovered A Distorted Utopia, but it was too good to pass up mentioning. A one-man project out of Leicester, A Distorted Utopia is driven by technical melodeath riffing and smooth lead guitars. There’s not much in the way of surprises here- lots of head-bobbing fast-paced melodic death metal riffing, midrange screams, and so on- but it’s very well-written. The real draw here for me is in the guitar solos. It’s surprisingly sticky for how fast he plays, and there are a couple moments near the end of the album (particularly at the end of “Sun Borne” and “Closure”) where he goes completely off the rails in a chaotic frenzy. It’s the sort of thing you would expect from your garden variety Slayer knockoff, but it’s a different animal entirely when it comes from a guitarist who actually knows what he’s doing. If you’re in the mood for some solid guitar worship, then don’t pass this up.

Hopefully you liked what you heard today; if you did, you can find Vaulting, Clavicus Vile, and A Distorted Utopia at their respective Facebook pages. Head over there and give them our warmest, moistest regards. All of the albums featured today are available now at the Bandcamp links above. That’s all for this week, and until next time,

Stay Tech

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  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Good work as always Spear, your might is mighty!

    I really dig that Vaulting cover and your description is quite impelling. 11 minutes of grind infused death? Yes please.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      And 2.99 is cheap!

    • Spear

      I am so might. Glad you dig!

  • Eliza

    Despite being so short, the Vaulting album feels very complete. The lengths of the songs end when they should and don’t feel like shorter versions of other songs. I like it.

    • Spear

      You should check out their earlier stuff, too. Most of it is slightly longer format, but still concise and pointed.

      • Eliza

        Time to dive right in.

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          Discog diving with Eliza

  • Joaquin Stick

    “The drums sound a little sad” may be the best description of anything ever.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I think Ophidius aims to be to Skyrim what Summoning is to Tolkien, and, you know, in tech death.
    Also, being partial are we? Don’t see Skyrim mentioned around Clavicus Vile…

    • The Tetrachord of Archytas

      glad someone pointed out that there are two elder scrolls references in this article

    • Not to mention Skyrim is getting the remaster treatment that’s all the rage this generation.

    • Spear


      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        Oh come on! He’s a daedric lord!

        • Spear

          Skyrim was the only Elder Scrolls game I put any time into, and it wasn’t much at that.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            He’s in Skyrim. Surely you ran to the talking dog outside that one city?

          • Spear

            Yes, but the last time I played was before any of the DLC launched. There wasn’t anything particularly memorable about the game for me beyond how tedious it was.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Lol, I think 90% percent of the time I spent om that game was pre-DLC.

  • Ayreonaut


  • Old Man Doom

    Really enjoying Vaulting. Some of the slower sections are giving me serious The Ocean vibes.

  • I’d just like to point out that skyrim is the shit

    • Mr. Bojangles


      • woah.hey frond

        • Mr. Bojangles

          what do you have a broken spacebar you loser hahahahahahaha

          • Mr. Bojangles


        • Mr. Bojangles

          rekt sun

  • The drums on this Clavicus Vile record definitely sound like finding the will to get out of bed in the morning is a struggle. You’re right though that it’s an interesting approach compared to literally every other tech death band these days, though.

  • W.

    Vaulting is pretty rad. Spear is a dreamboat.

  • Waynecro

    Grind and tech death are two of my favorite things! Thanks oodles for another super-duper Tech Death Thursday, Spear.