Tech Death Thursday: Sentient Ignition and Enigma


Grab your space suits and your plasma rifles; we’re blasting off this week with Sentient Ignition and Enigma. It’s Tech Death Thursday!

Gear up with some news:

  • Revocation’s new album is streaming over at Invisible Oranges. I have yet to really sink my teeth into it, but I’m really liking what I’ve heard so far. Great Is Our Sin comes out tomorrow.
  • Punished, a new band featuring members of Serocs and Ulcerate, has a new song up at NCS. It’s weird, it’s gross, and has a variety of guest performances. Look for The Absent on July 29th.
  • Willowtip Records has reissued a remastered version of Necrophagist’s debut album, Onset of Putrefaction. The guitars and vocals stand out a little more, but the drums… well, just listen. It’s still a good album of course, and it’s great that there are physical copies of it out there again, but was reprogramming the drums really necessary?
  • If prog death is more your speed, Blood Incantation has a new song streaming here. This is a band I’d forgotten about almost entirely, but I certainly won’t forget them anytime soon after hearing the title track of Starspawn. Look for the full release on August 19th via Dark Descent.
  • Virvum just announced a new album for this September. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to listen to yet, but you can head here to preorder Illuminance.

I tend to shy away from talking about demos. They are generally pretty rough in one way or another, and oftentimes aren’t representative of the final product. Moreover, they don’t always have enough music present to give an accurate picture of a band’s overall sound. Sometimes, though, somebody sends you one that’s too good to ignore. In this case, that would be Sentient Ignition, a prog death quintet from Sacramento.

I like it when bands like this are able to slow down the music while keeping it interesting. Sentient Ignition does just that, opting to focus more on melody and complex structure than on speed and showmanship. The riffs may initially strike you as being typical melodeath (as they did me), but it quickly becomes apparent that there’s a bit more going on under the bright high harmony. The guitars rarely ever fall back on harmonizing in thirds, oftentimes playing two completely separate melodies stitched together by the motion of the bass. Meanwhile, the drums alternate between punishing blasts and creative grooves and patterns, and it’s all brought together by an eclectic vocal performance.

Less than a minute into “A Thousand Ages,” the song abruptly shifts gears to a slower triplet feel. This sets the stage for the rest of the experience, ideas swirling around and voicing themselves before finally melding into one another. For there only being 16 minutes of music (which I suppose is plenty for only two songs) there are a lot of different themes present, but the band does a wonderful job of tying them all together. Through all the twists and turns, they are able to bring all these ideas together cohesively into a satisfying ending. All in all, there’s a surprising amount to glean from this little demo, and it shouldn’t be overlooked by fans of melodeath or progressive death metal. I eagerly look forward to where the band goes from here.

Up next is Enigma with Stars Misaligned. I first caught wind of these guys a couple weeks ago when “Of Vile and Bliss” went up and was instantly hooked by their deft performance and hook-laden composition. Having now heard the full thing, I can say my addiction has only worsened. It’s currently up and available for your ravenous ear-mouths right here ahead of its release tomorrow, so crucify that play button and jump in.

Now, there was one source of consternation for me on “Of Vile and Bliss:” the syncopated, pseudo-djent riff that appears partway through. I’m okay with djent when it’s on its own (as my well-worn Periphery and Tesseract discs can attest), but there’s a nasty precedent of it overtaking a band’s sound when it’s mixed in with another style. Tech death in particular tends to degenerate rapidly when exposed to djent; it might start off strong, but it oftentimes deteriorates completely into uninspired deathcore by the end of the record when djent is thrown into the mix.

That is mercifully not the case on Stars Misaligned. The aforementioned segment is the only one of its kind on the EP, and it works well in the context of the song as a break from the frenetic pace set in its opening moments. The rest of it is pure tech death bliss, moving in a wild but graceful dance from start to finish. I admire Enigma’s sense of pacing; they know exactly when to give the listener a break from the madness, punctuating their storm of sweeps and string-skipping with heavier, more traditional death metal riffing and the occasional clean break (the jaunty waltz section partway through “The Circus of the Collective” is particularly good). Most importantly, the songs are just plain good. They’re catchy as hell while being incredibly headbangable, the solos are creative, the vocals are nasty, the bass crushes, and it’s all held aloft by an unrelenting drummer. I could gush about this EP all day, but it’s better if you give it a listen for yourself.

Sentient Ignition and Enigma can be found on Facebook, so go give them some good old-fashioned Toilet lovin’. You can get each of their albums on Bandcamp for a measly $2 between them (Sentient Ignition here and Enigma here), so you don’t have to feel bad about dropping a little cash on these. That’s all this time. Until we meet again,

Stay Tech

(Images VIA and VIA)

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  • Lacertilian

    Bulk good shit right here, thanks Spear!

  • Of Vile And Bliss would’ve been the better band name.

  • That Blood Incantation song isn’t bad at all. Great to hear some techy death with some atmosphere, and no plastic sounding production.

    • Howard Dean

      Their Interdimensional Extinction EP was pretty solid. Nice and riffy, which is essential for me. Tech death can work only if the production isn’t too ridiculous and if it brings real riffs. Looking forward to the album.

      • Totally agree. I somehow completly avoided that demo of theirs. Guess I should get on it here. I love me some Spectral Voice, so it figures I’d dig this I guess.

        • Howard Dean

          Yeah, definitely try the EP if you haven’t yet. Short and to the point and very listenable.

        • Dubbbz

          Dark Descent should still be selling it.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Said it on the group, say it here too.
    That new Revocation sure sounds like Revocation.
    But there isn’t a single ace riff or otherwise memorable passage. They’re running on fumes, on power save etc.
    I don’t enjoy Slayer very much, but Altar of Sacrifice cover at the end is easily the best and most memorable song on the record.

    • Kinda feel like the songs are pretty good as a whole. As a guitarist, I agree, the riffs are nothing to write home about.

    • RustyShackleford

      Dave’s (that’s his name right? not looking up cause lazy) riffing is SO precise and you can REALLY hear it on the Alter of Sacrifice cover. I mean it’s kinda unfair to compare a band’s riffing to such a classic Slayer song off a classic but still I wish they could write some better songs/riffs.

    • Howard Dean

      Slayer (>*∞) Revocation

      [in unison]

      “Hot winds, of HELL
      BUUUURNS, in my wake
      DEATH, is what you pray
      BEEEEHOLD, Captor of SIN!!”

      • Man Slayer isnt’ that good

        • Eliza

          Maybe Slayer isn’t the greatest thing ever, but back in the early 80’s, I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that.

          • Exactly. I still think Haunting the Chapel is an untouchable EP. Metal perfection.

          • Show No Mercy is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

            I just don’t care about anything else

          • Stanley

            If you young ‘uns had been around when Reign In Blood came out you would have shat your pants.

          • STANLEY

          • Stanley


          • How have you been?

          • Stanley

            Super, smashing, great. How about you?

          • Pretty good. It is finally summer (heat wise). Makes for good reasons to be down by the river as much as possible! Our baby girl is getting huge. Swear she is 1/2 my height already.

          • Stanley

            I need to make my way to a river pretty soon. There is a nice one about an hour and a bit a way that is nice for swimming when they dam it (which they just have). It’s where they do Vineman.

            Nice to hear about your little one. If she’s got her dad’s gene’s she is going to be quite long.

          • I imagine that water stays pretty chilly being run-off and all?

            Brisk might be a better word?

            River water temp gets about ~80 here. Nearly perfect, refreshing.

          • Stanley

            Every year at Vineman there is always the threat that you won’t be able to wear a wetsuit. Normally the temperature of the water in mid July is a 74. Quite nice really. If they release more water (which they haven’t done lately due to the water shortages), the water temperature drops very quickly.

          • Huh. Just realized RIB was released on my birthday. That’s cool.

            I get how difficult it was to discover new music back then compared to now, but let’s also not pretend that there was some RIPPING thrash behind and underneath slayer that surpasses it in every in 1986

          • Eliza

            Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends for example, that album has some phenomenal riffs.

          • Stanley

            Well fuck me. I have eleven of the top 12 on that list. Other than Dark Angel (and maybe Kreator), none of those records are as intense as RIB. 28 mins of extreme agro and controversy like I had never seen/heard.

          • A coworker turned me onto Angel Dust, they were really impressive albeit on the more speed metal side of things.

            Keep in mind this is a RYM generated list, my taste isn’t this obscure 😛

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            I was thinking Angel Dust the power metal band at first.


          • Same band!

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Oh!!!! I’ve never heard them do anything resembling speed metal. *scratches head*

          • go to the 80s

          • Stanley

            Who ever put this list together is good at putting lists together of stuff that I would put on a list of stuff like this.

          • RYM generated, I love this site so much

          • Stanley

            Never heard of it.

          • Eliza

            I just assumed it’s like Metacritic, so I never used it.


            I use it for catalogging and helping remember what I have/haven’t listened to. It’s an incredible tool

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Reign In Blood to this day is still a masterpiece, same with Show No Mercy. The other releases, though? Not quite so much.

          • Hell Awaits >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          • Howard Dean

            HELL fuckin’ AWAITS! YES!

          • Howard, what did you do with your time prior to you return?

          • Howard Dean
          • BYAH!!!

          • Ayreonaut

            Undisputed attitude >>>>>>>>

          • Eliza

            I enjoy South of Heaven a lot, but I couldn’t care less for everything that came after Seasons in the Abyss.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Divine Intervention was their last good CD, IMHO. After that, they started becoming a by the numbers parody of themselves.

          • Eliza

            I tried listening to their album last year, but I found it sadly boring.

        • Howard Dean

          …but I’ll take it any day over Revocation. Honestly, I’ll take Show No Mercy, Haunting the Chapel, Hell Awaits, and Reign in Blood over all of the thrash released in the last 15 years (minus Vektor’s Black Future, which is pretty nice).

          • Have you heard Sacral Rage? Although it sounds like you’re more into the aggressive, darker style of thrash, whereas Sacral Rage is like Voivod + Toxik

          • Howard Dean

            I haven’t heard it, no. I’m definitely more of a Slayer, Morbid Saint, Sadus, Demolition Hammer type of thrash guy.

          • They probably wouldn’t be your cup of tea, but naturally I’m constantly trying to shove the album into my pants

          • tertius_decimus

            I’d take Criminal from Chile over both.


    • tertius_decimus

      Same here. Can’t enjoy Revocation. And can’t say it’s fine or bad.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        I like the Teratogenesis EP, and p much all of their albums, sans the debut, have some songs (sometimes even a lot of songs) that I can enjoy, though I’m not a fan and don’t dig ’em as much as some others here.
        This is the first album I don’t find myself enjoying at all.

        • tertius_decimus

          Signing under every single word in your message.

        • Dubbbz

          Teratogenesis is their peak. Revocation, IMO, are perhaps the epitome of full-length bloat. Trim that fat, Dave!

          That said, I’ve seen Revo in support of other bands multiple times and always enjoyed them live.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            I would see them if they showed up here, at least if they had a good band with them.

      • Eliza

        I like Revocation, but I understand why someone wouldn’t enjoy their output. It’s particularly outstanding in any way.

    • Owlswald

      I listened to the stream yesterday and thought the album slayed. It’s way heavier than their last one, imo, and their new drummer sure is impressive. I’m going to listen to it again today so we’ll see how it holds up.

  • Scrimm

    Really looking forward to that Blood Incantion, but has anyone seen the longsleeves they are selling for the album? New edition of shirt stains right there

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Those clean vocals in Sentient Ignition actually work, hey look at that.

    • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

      That demo is tasty as fuck

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Tasty demos >>>>>

  • Heliocrat

    Blood Incantation sounds pretty good. It as an element of technicality no doubt, but I wouldn’t really call it tech death. Not really making a fuss about it though, nitpicking on sub-genre categories is dumb.

  • Oh hell yes that virvum is gonna rip. I have one song by them and I really like it though the name escapes me.

  • Eliza

    If the song that has been released so far is any indication, that Enigma album will be great.

  • RustyShackleford

    This is good, although I’m too busy bouncing to the Prophets of Rage single over and over again to pay too much attention to much tech this morning. Still very much digging the melodies in the Enigma track!

    • Yep?

      • RustyShackleford

        Edit: YEP!

        Clearly drank too much Alamo last night.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    The new Blood Incantation delivers all the ace riffs, better than the other new song they’ve shared.

    Sentient Ignition sounds good-ish. I dig the potential they show and though I doubt I’ll return to this particular demo, I’m interested to hear where they will take that potential when kingdom come.

    Hoo boy, I don’t like those djenty bits in Enigma at all. Dig the vocalists higher rasp though. Otherwise it’s fine, just too weedleheckingtechdeath for me.

  • Ayreonaut

    Fuckin A

    • Hans Müller

      Pulls. Pulls everywhere.

  • Count_Breznak

    They remastered the first Necrophagist album AGAIN ?

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      I believe this is that same remaster re-released physically.

  • tertius_decimus

    Bias alert.

    Re-mastering “Onset of Putrefaction” is another sign you’ll hear “Time II” 18 years before third full-length Necrophagist album would even be announced. You may insist a listener is under pressure of baby duck syndrome on such things, but hey, can you name re-works that were in all senses better than the first iteration other than Meshuggah’s “Nothing”? The band had no time to properly master 2002 version, so they were straight with what they’ve said on it: — Don’t listen to this crap! 2006 version was so much better. So, what do we have with another “Onset of Putrefaction”? Re-alligned soundcene, which in comparison with 1999 version seems more center-focused, more straightforward. Let’s take my favorite track from this album — “Fermented Offal Discharge” (and its cheesy solo in the end of the song, lol). Rhythm guitar sits in the centre of the “room”, drums are too. Vocal sounds like vocal line was recorded through a metal can — never liked this tone. In 2016 version all this improved, especially vocals. Bass became more audible, more dense, the overall detailisation improved. Drums, though have lost natural gritty tone and do sound a tad plasticky. But in all fairness, it’s not light years better than second version of the song (first one appeared on a demo in 1995 and was atrocious). It’s too little to lay on the table given that since 1992 band has recorded two albums which are pretty short.

    By the way, since it’s tech death thursday, let me say a thing or two on Obscura’s “Akroasis”. Everyone has listened to it, I didn’t. I always come to party when everyone has gone. Obscura at their beginning was a Schuldiner-worship project. “Retribution” was bland and uninspiring but man, how the things have changed when in 2008 they released 3-track promo stuff that mixed Necrophagist shtick (“The Anticosmic Overload”) with late Death shtick (“Incarnated”). The latter will appear in different variations to the sound two times but they will still lose to the original one, that aped everything Schuldiner was famous for. I immediately jumped the ship and was eagerly awaiting for the next full-length. When “Cosmogenesis” released in 2009, everyone praised the technical complexity and compositional prowess, but for unknown reason, my heart remained cold to it. I could never enjoy it. With “Omnivium” things got worse. And this is with perfect line-up! Every musician alone is a master, these names already were praised for number of undeniable reasons. What’s not to like? Sadly, for me “Omnivium” was farther than “Cosmogenesis” to enjoy. Things have changed. Line up changed so completely that from the very beginning only vocalist remained the same. Everyone else has gone, so “Akroasis” was written by absolutely different band. And you know what? It’s brilliant! Gone is this stupid weedly-deedly race of equals. The music slowed down, became simplier but also reached atmospheric heights, became moody. You know, it’s not the doom metal, far from it, but the music is very depressive by death metal standards and it’s more emphasized by the character of song-writing. The album has no stand out tracks, none of them is way worse or way better than other, so it’s hard to listen to select few tracks from “Akroasis”, you have to listen to it from start to finish. Big improvement over what the different band under same Obscura banner has done before. I love this line-up better.

    • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo
      • tertius_decimus

        By mentioned time Sucimez will be as young as he was before. Maybe he’s a vampire or Lothlorien elf.

    • Spear

      Just got around to reading your assessment of Akroasis, and I half agree inasmuch as I really enjoyed Cosmogenesis and Omnivium. There’s no doubt that Akroasis takes the band to a new level, though; for all the shit Tom and Steffen have flung at each other the past few months, their writing works much better together than Hannes and Steffen did. It’s a shame we’re probably never going to get another album like it. At least we got Alkaloid out of it.

      • tertius_decimus

        I’m not aware of this, care to clarify what’s wrong with Tom and Steffen relationship? Or just throw a link if you have one in mind.

        • Spear

          Basically, Tom (who played on Akroasis and wrote a significant portion of it, including its massive closing track) was kicked out of the band for some pretty iffy reasons (such as not being able to play the material and not being ready to tour, both of which Steffen himself was notorious for). Tom claims that this was done illegally, that the band didn’t credit him properly when the new material started coming out, that he was never paid in full for his work, and that the band is now trying to essentially erase him from Obscura history by removing his guitar tabs/song playthroughs/etc. The difference between Tom and Steffen’s claims is that Tom has had hard evidence for each of his, whereas Steffen does not (and has told a couple outright lies trying to besmirch Tom). It’s a stupid ugly mess, and the takeaway is that Steffen Kummerer is a giant twat.

          • tertius_decimus

            Sad to read this. Same thing happened to Cynic. Sigh.

    • Sy-Klone

      The main one that jumps out at me is the remastered version of Nevermore’s “Enemies of Reality”. The first one was atrocious, and, sensing the screw up, Century Media sold the remastered for $5, and it is far superior to the original recording.

  • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

    Not really digging Enigma much at all so far, outside of that riff at the 2:10 mark. The drumming sounds clicky as hell, and the vocals seem a bit out of place on the whole thing. I’ll stick to their “Return To Innocence” and “Gravity Of Love” stuff instead. :-p

    • tertius_decimus

      Difficult to distinguish one such band from another. In a blindfold test I’d take 0 points.

  • Waynecro

    I dig that Punished track, and I don’t mind dropping a buck each on Sentient Ignition and Enigma. Thanks for staying tech, Spear!

    • tertius_decimus

      Punished punishes in a stomach.


    • Spear

      I can’t fathom a universe in which I don’t stay tech.

  • brokensnow