Tech Death Thursday: Duality

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Every now and then, a gem of an album will escape everyone’s notice. Fortunately, they don’t tend to stay buried for long. This week we visit one of those hidden gems from last year: Duality’s Elektron.

Nooz:

  • Willowtip Records confirmed to our own Celtic Frosty that the new Vale of Dongs will be releasing on June 10th. Prepare thine butts.
  • I somehow managed to completely gloss over Corprophemia’s savage new LP, Abhorrogenesis, which was released last week. Stream it in full over at Noise Reduction if you like your tech with a side of brutality.
  • Slave One must have read my criticisms of their last EP from last month, because they just put out a new single and it’s absolutely killer (and by that I mean they probably never even saw it and just got naturally better as musicians and songwriters in the four years since Cold Obscurantist Light came out). Look for the full album, Disclosed Dioptric Principles, via Dolorem Records on March 25th.
  • Ever wish your tech had a bigger focus on melody and atmosphere than on just going fast? Then turn your ears towards “Memories,” the new single from Heresy Denied. Look for their debut, Innerception, sometime in the near future.
  • Eximperitusimnottypingtherestofthisfuckingstupidassbandname have a song out that’s apparently new, despite the album it’s on being announced last February. Perhaps they would get things done faster if it didn’t take them so damned long to write out their song titles. Look for Prajecyrufuck it. It’s out in June.
  • The Zenith Passage have another new song out, “Deus Deceptor.” As people in the Youtube comments are pointing out, it sounds like Soreption in the best way, though parts of it are slightly reminiscent of the title track from The Human Abstract’s Digital Veil (also in the best way).
  • New Entheos? New Entheos. Check out the title track from The Infinite Nothing right here.
  • Lever of Archimedes just couldn’t wait to show us some new material and have posted a pre-pro track right here. If it’s any indication of the direction the band is headed, color me excited.
  • Because we didn’t already have enough unintentionally hilarious music videosOmophagia have graced us with a clip for their new song “Down We Fall.” Fortunately, German tech death bands are incapable of writing bad music, so the tune itself rips. Look for In the Name of Chaos on April 15th.
  • BRAIN DRILL BRAIN DRILL BRAIN DRILL BRAIN DRILL

The focus of tech death is almost always on the mechanical skills of the musicians. Songs are built around merging hooks with virtuoso performances, held together by riffs that may be short and complex, but are immediately pleasing to the ear. Don’t get me wrong; I love it wholeheartedly. I thrive on catchiness, on headbanging earworms and the simple joy of watching a guitarist effortlessly demolish his instrument in a blinding spray of notes. However, the other aspect of technical skill tends to get overlooked in the immense detail and care put into mastering the instruments; the actual songwriting.

You won’t hear any 360 BPM blasting on Elektron. Sweep-tapping is basically nonexistent here. Instead of placing the spotlight on the performance, Duality has focused on mastering composition, and are all the better for it. The sounds you’ll hear on Elektron are incredibly eclectic and always flow, even moving from a staggered crunchy guitar riff to a Latin-influenced break to distorted jazz. It never reaches Hadean or Ehnahre levels of mindfuckery, though; while the songs are complex, I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re challenging. It’s different, even truly progressive to my ears, but it’s pleasant to listen to (though I’m sure some will be driven away by the sudden murky dissonance of “Hybrid Regression”).

It’s masterfully mixed and produced, as well. The vocalist’s Darkest Hour-style screams are nestled comfortably into the mix with the instruments, rather than being completely buried or sitting atop the entire band. The guitars have a surprisingly thick crunch to them, but the bass is featured prominently as well (I’d go as far as saying the bass playing is one of the highlights of the album, in fact). Though the drums are triggered, they’re not done so aggressively; they feel naturally spaced with enough room to breathe. This is the kind of production I could stand to see more of in tech death; clean, but earthy.

This kind of writing doesn’t appear often in the world of tech, and it makes me appreciate it that much more. I can see myself savoring Elektron for a long time; it’s unique in all the right ways. If you liked what you heard as much as I did, check out Duality on FacebookElektron is available now through PRC Music; without them, most of us likely would never have heard it.

That’s all for now, and until next week:

Stay Tech

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