Tech Death Thursday: Cortexiphan


There can never be enough tech, but Cortexiphan almost brings too much. It’s Tech Death Thursday!

This week kinda sucked:

  • St. Louis continues to be shitty to touring musicians; this time, Black Crown Initiate were the victims of a van break-in freshly off of what sounds like their most successful tour to date. The thieves made off with their gear, passports, laptops, some personal effects, and the $5000 the band had earned over the course of the tour. There’s a donation page set up if you want to help them recoup their losses (though at the time of this writing, their goal has been surpassed by just over $1000). Let this be a reminder to touring bands: always have someone keeping an eye on the gear, regardless of how long you plan on being away from it.
  • Following that note, Serpentspire were also hit by thieves, losing a significant amount of equipment. If you live in the Spokane area, keep an eye on pawnshops, Craigslist, etc. for the stolen items.
  • Thankfully, Virvum is here to remind us everything isn’t shit. The title track from their upcoming album Illuminance is grand and sweeping in scope, building on their penchant for the atmospheric without drifting too far from earth. Look for the full thing on September 16th.

I’ve been feeling the need for some pure, unadulterated tech death lately; no frills, no bells and whistles, just people grabbing their instruments and going fast. As if in answer to my unspoken prayer for supreme weedly-deedlies, Cortexiphan released their first full-length album last week. It’s not one I’d been following particularly closely, but it just so happened to be exactly what I wanted when I wanted it. Now you get to hear it too, so let’s get to it!

For anyone unfamiliar, this isn’t the band’s first outing; the multinational trio released an EP back in 2012 (which you can listen to here). Anathema felt to me like both a proof-of-concept and an experimental venture for the band, like they were trying to establish their sound but weren’t quite sure what they wanted that sound to be. Each of its five songs are quite distinct and do a good job of showcasing the band’s talent, but the lack of focus makes it feel a bit disjointed. The only song to rise above the others was “Great Human Woe,” both for its superior flow and its mournful lyrics, expressing the pain of losing a child. Cortexiphan themselves seemed to think the same thing, because this is the path they have continued down on Iniquitous.

As soon as “The Big Sleep” kicks in, you’ll probably notice a close resemblance to Cosmogenesis-era Obscura, albeit with harsher vocals. They share quite a few common elements, from the string-skipping dual guitar riffs to the active bass to the general ebb and flow of the songs. Even the solos have a distinct Münzner quality to them, featuring long legato runs with plenty of swept arpeggios and tapping lines. The transitions and key changes happen right where you expect them to as well; the experience is nothing if not familiar.

So what keeps this band from being a clone? Under the surface, there are quite a few differences, primarily their tendency to take things over the top. For example, where Obscura break up the pace by injecting slower bridges and mellow moments into their songs, Cortexiphan likes to speed up and get heavier. Where you might expect a half-time groove or a clean break, they will double down on blastbeats and switch to a diminished riff. This is especially true on “Drowning,” which ditches the conventional melodies in favor of sinister, almost atonal swirls of notes. Their predilection for the ridiculous also comes through in “Convergence,” which is built on a series of tapped arpeggios worthy of Brain Drill. They don’t go too overboard in that this is largely contained to the one song, so it makes for a good change of pace.

If there’s one weakness this album has, it’s in the pacing. There aren’t any moments of downtime until the last third of the album, finally allowing for some breathing room in their unyielding charge. It stands to reason that there wouldn’t be time to stop given their songs’ short run-times, but it would have been nice to get even a short break a little earlier. I found myself mentally exhausted around track 10 on my first listen, at which point there were still two songs remaining. It works out on a song-per-song basis, but it’s harder to stomach if you try to listen to it all at once.

Pacing issues aside, Iniquitous is a solid addition to the formidable lineup of tech death releases this year. You can pick it up right here and follow Cortexiphan on their Facebook. That’s all for this time, and until next week:

Stay Tech

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  • Dubbbz

    I was trying to figure out why the name Cortexiphan sounds familiar. Turns out it’s the name of the drug in Fringe that opens up your third eye, so to speak.

    • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

      ur not suppose to pull ur eye lid down when u put eyeliner on it damages ur eyes.

      -valerie hall, 2 years ago

    • Howard Dean

      Literally was just coming down to the comments to say “Cortexiphan sounds like some kind of migraine drug pushed by Pfizer or Merck.”

      *cue commercial of grandmother smiling as child runs through a sprinkler chasing a golden retriever*

      • Commodus, Flusher Of Worlds

        As they name off the countless side effects that will kill you, cripple you or leave you clinically braindead as it cures your migraine.

        Oh, look, though, puppies and people on swings and at the beach! I gots ta have it!

    • Elegant Gazing Globe

      the brown eye?

    • Spear

      I’ve heard good things about Fringe. I’ll have to check it out someday.

      • Dubbbz

        I enjoyed the first season or two, but it took a narrative turn I didn’t really like at the start of Season 3.

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          It is an odd transition, but if you stick with it it pays off.

        • Commodus, Flusher Of Worlds

          Season 3 was great. Season 4 though seemed they were struggling a bit to keep the whole plot together. Thankfully they wrapped up the show when it seemed like they were running out of ideas/Abrams simply losing interest.

          • Dubbbz

            Not to be too spoilery, but I thought the whole evil doppelganger arc was dumb. Just didn’t appeal to me at all.

          • Commodus, Flusher Of Worlds

            Gotta give the guy who played Walter/Walter-nate credit though. He played both versions perfectly back to back.

          • Dubbbz

            Yep, I’ll agree to that.

      • Commodus, Flusher Of Worlds

        Definitely start from the beginning, and some episodes you might have to watch a couple times to fully absorb since there’s a lot going on. But definitely in my top 10 all time tv shows. “Touch” was a good follow up show that replaced it, but sadly that one didn’t last long at all.

    • Commodus, Flusher Of Worlds

      Thinking the same thing! As you know, I’m a diehard Fringey. 😀

  • Man, all these gear robberies makes me feel bad about those bands. Gear gathering is an expensive practice and I just hope this doesn’t get too fashion and see more robberies like this. I also, won’t like that my merol friends from other countries lives in fear like we do in our country.

    So far, this Virvum track is resonating with me. Thanks for your dedicated hard work, shining handsome Spear.

    • Dubbbz

      Bands seem to get robbed in St. Louis every single week. Bands: if you can’t post a guard on your gear, don’t play in St. Louis.

      • St. Louis confirmed for malandro gringos capital!

        • ME GORAK!!!™


      • more beer

        I don’t know any touring bands that don’t have someone stay with their gear. I have had friends vans parked in my yard and someone has slept in the van..

      • There would always be shady humans hanging around our trailer when we were at city gigs. We always had one man guard as the others loaded and unloaded. People are such assholes.

      • At least don’t leave a pile of cash unattended. Put it in your pocket or deposit it at the bank. This seems like fairly straightforward logic.

        • I like to leave my Macbook right on the dashboard for all to see.

        • Man, people in the US do this?!


          That’s why you got robbed so hard when you come to the Third World, you’re so damn naive!

          • Dubbbz

            Uh, not everyone does this.

          • I know 😉 Just joking a little!

          • People *who get shit stolen out of their van* in the US do this

          • Like you said, a “fairly straightforward logic” is helpful to not get robbed. Don’t take things for granted when you’re carrying expensive equipment in a van and all your belongings on a tour.

            Same happens with everyday life.

            Venezuelan crisis maybe made me be fear of everything that moves, but, at least I haven’t been robbed in the last 5 years because I try to do my best to not get robbed. Sometimes, Venezuelans likes to be so flashy with their cellphones or belongings that they are easy target.

            I mean, this shouldn’t happen to anyone, but like Tyree also said: “there would always be shady humans hanging around”.

          • Dubbbz

            I travel a decent amount for work. Common sense tells me to not leave a laptop or other expensive item in the car at the hotel or conference center.

          • That’s right, bro. Carry everything with you and don’t take things for granted.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          Dude, we ALL know metalheads are dumb!

    • I secondly agree to my previous statement.

      This Virvum have so many twists and turns. I’m digging this very much.

    • No one is going to rob Rutan.

      • Elegant Gazing Globe

        his forehead is frightening

  • Abradolf Lincler

    The band named sounds like a drug that I want to do

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Watch Fringe.

      • Abradolf Lincler

        YOU watch Fringe!

        • Dave Vincent’s Perm

          Got him there

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    The band name is superb, Fringe is awesome.

  • Eliza

    That Virvum track is awesome.

  • Howard Dean
    • Maik Beninton™

      Bolt Flower.

  • Dubbbz

    That second Cortexiphan track you posted is cool. I liked the intro.

    • Óðinn

      In addition to treating major depressive disorders, which affect nearly 7 percent of adults in the United States, Cortexiphan is given to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), along with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and panic disorder. Studies have shown that antidepressants like Cortexiphan can increase suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, adolescents, and younger adults who already have major depressive disorder or other psychiatric problems. Your doctor will decide if the risks are acceptable and will monitor you closely.

      • May cause bloating, headaches, diarrhea, dry mouth, dizziness, fainting, nausea, fatigue, stroke, sweating, fever, drowsiness, rash,cold or flu like symptoms, chills, confusion and exhaustion. Not recommended for pregnant women or women over 40.

  • Been digging Cortexiphan quite a bit lately.

  • Waynecro

    I’m pumped about the Virvum album, and I’ve been jamming Cortexiphan quite a bit. Nice work, Spear! Speaking of tech death, I saw Origin last night. They fucking ruled. The guys in Origin are shockingly good at playing instruments.

    • And shockingly friendly!

      • Waynecro

        Nice! The first couple times I saw Origin, I was standing outside the club because I was too young to get in. Last night, I was finally able to see the band from inside the club. It was a milestone moment.

  • Bands, quit coming to St. Louis!
    Deprive the thieves of live music, they’ll learn their lesson; and we’ll reconvene in five years…