Tech Death Thursday: First Fragment – Dasein

After six long years, the Canadian neoclassical shredders are back with their first full album! Make sure your face’s last will and testament is up to date, because it’s about to get melted straight off.

Some news to warm you up first:

  • Defeated Sanity have a new song from the Dharmata side of their upcoming self-split, and it fucking destroys. “At One With Wrath” sounds like a long-lost artifact of early 90’s progressive death metal in the absolute best way. Don’t skip it.
  • Relative newcomers Onomasy have released “The Memory of the Reaper,” a new song from their upcoming album, Ashes and Dust. It’s nothing particularly groundbreaking, but it’s a solid track nonetheless. Look for Ashes and Dust on May 20th.
  • I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been impatiently waiting for word of a new Origin album. While there’s still nothing on the horizon, you can sate that hunger for awhile with this new EP from The Malice, which bears more than passing resemblance to the former. It’s not quite as off-the-rails as Origin, but it’s very much in the same vein.
  • On the complete opposite end of the tech spectrum (“techtrum” for short), Apotheon released a new EP that sounds a bit like what a band like Periphery or Intervals would sound like as a tech death band. Also, it has parts that sound like they’re straight out of a Mega Man X game, which I’m more than okay with.
  • Orphalis have a new album on the way, and their description has me intrigued. Apparently this new release will have as much in common with Spawn of Possession as it will with Gorguts and Deathspell Omega. “The Atavistic Tide” isn’t terribly indicative of that influence, but it sounds like the full thing will be solid regardless. The Birth of Infinity is out on July 12th.
  • Sometimes, you need tech with a little more groove than shred. For those occasions, we have The Schoenberg Automaton, who have a new song streaming from the forthcoming Apus. Look for it on June 3rd.



It has been far too long since First Fragment graced us with new music. Their debut EP, covered here by the venerable St. Bauer, came out in 2010. With scant updates in the interim between albums and a couple long delays in the past year, it seemed that a new album would never arrive. Finally we were given a new song last month, and now the full release is right around the corner. Let me tell you: it was totally worth the wait.

Dasein wastes no time, opening with the blistering “Le Serment De Tsion” and setting the stage for the album as a whole. This first track will give you a clear picture of what you’re getting into on this album. The guitar duo of Phil Tougas (of Chthe’ilistSerocs, and Zealotry infamy) and Gabriel Brault-Pilon are front-and-center throughout. The virtuosity of these two is incredible, but the music isn’t simply about how many BPM they hit per song; the writing is easily on par with the playing. No note is wasted here, with gorgeous hooks and melodic (if not necessarily rhythmic) counterpoint abounding. The solos are absolutely phenomenal, too; it’s rare for soloing to do anything more than provide a cool showcase for the lead guitarist, but in this instance, it actually elevates the music. It’s one thing to write a solo that fits the music, but it’s another thing entirely to be able to capture the essence of a whole song within one.

While the guitarists are impressive, the rest of the band aren’t exactly slouches, either. Drummer Troy Fullerton (Severed Savior), when not laying down wave after wave of high-speed blastbeats, puts out some fantastic grooves and complex beats. The bassist gets a couple moments to shine forth as well; he goes toe-to-toe with the formidable guitar duo in each song and keeps pace, taking a solo on the title track and classicaly-influenced song “Prélude En Sol Dièse Mineur” as well. The vocal performance is the icing on the cake, spitting each line in a raw snarl. His voice sounds truly ragged in some parts, particularly when you hear him on his own, making for a nice change of pace from the usual tech death fare. Each musician is fantastic in their own right, and they’re brought together in one intense package.


However, that same intensity is probably their only shortcoming. The music reaches and occasionally surpasses Archspire levels of speed and intensity (seriously, closer “Evhron” has the fastest/longest gravity blast I’ve ever heard), but it creates a lack of variety when they’re constantly blazing through songs at maximum speed. There are a couple welcome breaks present in the form of Spanish guitar pieces and swing interludes in a couple tunes, but there are a lot of segments in the same key at the same tempo that could easily be part of the same song. That said, the song “Archétype” is probably the strongest tech death tune by a band not called Obscura that I’ve heard this year, due in no small part to its variety. The band is at their strongest, when they’re playing with time signatures and different feelings within the same song. I hope to hear more of that from the band in the future, because they’re damn good at it.

Dasein brings to the table exactly the kind of music most people will think of when they hear the term “tech death.” It’s incredibly fast, very dense, and almost exhausting to listen to. It’s the type of album that’s unlikely to convert any new fans, but will carry universal appeal to anyone invested in the genre. I love it for its entirely uncompromising nature, but I understand there are those who will hate it for the same reason; because of that, I give it:

4/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell


First Fragment can be found on Facebook; swing by and tell them the Toilet says hello. Dasein will be out on May 20th through Unique Leader Records and can be preordered right here. That’s all for now, my fellow Toileteers. Until next time,

Stay Tech

Do you have a band you would like to see featured? A new release we should keep an eye on? Or maybe you want to do some writing yourself? Then email us at and make your voice heard!

(Image VIA)

  • Lacertilian

    Last Origin related news I heard was that Jason was filling in for Psycroptic’s Jason on the end of their Euro tour in some kind of bizarre planned Jason-swapping event.

    • a female friend of mine says the following about Jason from Origin: “eww”. that’s all the food you get, baby birds

      • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

        My emo girlfriends are like, “You love Zeppelin right? Than you have to hear this song by Brokencyde”. That’s a F**KING quote!

        – She’s Always Wrong, 3 years ago

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Even I have a hard time telling them apart

          • Dubs

            Brokencyde are more brutal XD

    • Count_Breznak

      The latest Origin related news is that they sounded like shit yesterday. Awful PA + clueless soundguy running arround with a tablet = completely inaudible bass. Not like you really could hear anything else, either, since the volume was about double of what the speakers could take.
      Didn’t help that most of the audience were some blackmetal kids only there to see Marduk. Who managed to suck all by themselves, even with the best mix of the night.

      • Lacertilian


  • Dubs

    That Dharmata track es muy interesante.

    • I didn’t like it at first, mostly cause it caught me off guard and wasn’t what I was expecting from Defeated Sanity. Digging the fuck out of it on multiple listens though.

      • Dubs

        It says right on the bandcamp pages and such so that the album is a split between two different EPs.

        • Oh I know, but still not what I was expecting.

          • Dubs

            I think it will be rill cool to hear the whole thing.

          • Agreed.

  • Ha, Defeated Sanity are such pranksters. WTF

  • Dubs

    I don’t hear the Gorguts, but that Orphalis track was cool.

    • Spear

      Yeah, there wasn’t much of the weirder stuff they mentioned on that track. A bit disappointing, but it’s still good.

  • Thanks, super Spear!!

    Also, in english, when is cool to use the word “infamy”? I’m pretty confused with that word. In spanish is a negative word.

  • RustyShackleford

    Nailed it with that Defeated Sanity description. That sounds like some old school shit! I’m studying for a pretty crazy communications law exam today so I’m definitely going need all the weedlies and deedlies I can find. First Fragment time 🙂 Thank you Lord Spear, the techiest bard in all the lands! Yep!

  • Eliza

    There are some pretty catchy riffs here.

    • Spear

      The slower parts tend to stick a little better (for me, at least). There aren’t a whole lot of them, but they’re great when they show up.

      • Eliza

        While I do like the faster sections, I agree that’s it’s the slower parts that stick with me more. But I like the songs on the whole.

  • Joaquin Stick

    I like that Apotheon. Guys, I know this is embarrassing, but I have not joined bandcamp yet. I found out I have like $20 in a paypal account from selling shit on ebay 5 years ago, and that bandcamp takes paypal. I think that will finally be my incentive to join up. Bring it on, “name your own pricers”.

  • Waynecro

    Every Thursday, my nuts implode in anticipation of the crushing they’re sure to receive from Tech Death Thursday. This edition certainly didn’t disappoint. Thanks, Spear!

    • Spear

      Nut-crushing is exactly why I do this.

      • Waynecro

        I certainly appreciate your efforts.