Tech Death Thursday: The Next One
Everybody get up, it’s time to slam now! Grab your mesh shorts and your spacesuits; we’re going into the deep unknown with Infected Swarm and Serpenternity.
First for some news:
- Syrinx snuck up and dropped an LP when nobody was looking. Stream Black Spring for some tasty prog death with crunchy vocals.
- Not proggy enough for you? Then try Opposites in Polarity, the newest from Scalifrea. Prepare yourself for some violent twists and turns in mood.
- Vale of Pnath have finally revealed a new song from their upcoming second album, appropriately entitled II. Check out “Klendathu” right here and bask in tech most righteous.
- Blah blah production woes who gives a shit new Fallujah
- Katalepsy have put out a short trailer for their upcoming full-length Gravenous Hour, due out on May 27th. It sounds a bit like a more reserved Aborted… until you hit the end, when they go full-on slam. I’m looking forward to this one.
- You want more Entheos, you got more Entheos. Check out “Perpetual Miscalculations” right here. Of the three tracks released so far, this one feels the most like their previous work, but it flows a little better. Oh, and it slams (albeit briefly and somehow progressively).
I don’t really remember how I came across Survival Race; the only thing that comes to memory is that I found it while searching for tech bands, headbanged so hard I pulled a neck muscle, and immediately placed it in the queue for this week. It’s not really even tech death, but it goes fast and (occasionally) shreds hard. Close enough, right? In any case, Infected Swarm (not to be confused with Infecting The Swarm) have, per their Bandcamp description, added “some melodic parts to slamming brutal death metal.” This might seem counterintuitive for both slam and melodeath, but it works. God damn, does it work.
While there are no shortage of hammer-swinging riffs on Survival Race, they’re done intelligently (I know, I know, hear me out). The mere presence of the melodic parts on this record already sets it apart from many other bands in the genre, but I feel like it’s the band’s mindset- the one that led them to trying this in the first place- that distinguishes them. The songwriting is incredibly smooth, with each section of the song flowing into the next without any bumps. The interplay between the guitars leads to some truly monstrous moments as well; the savage middle section of “Killing Your Family” has one of my favorite riffs of the year across any genre. Tension builds and releases in all the right places, and the single guitar solo on the album is also its most mosh-worthy moment. All told, this is a surprisingly solid EP; thirteen minutes of ignorant bliss.
And now we get to the space part of these jams. I would understand if you thought the brutality stopped here, but you’d be dead wrong. Collapsar is every bit as crushing as the singularity for which it’s named. It’s clear listening to this that Serpenternity took the “death” part of tech death to heart; the music is as unpredictable and vitriolic as it is virtuosic. It’s a grab bag of death metal styles, each song being starkly distinct from the others.
This mixture of styles is the album’s greatest strength. It opens with a one-two punch of fast, aggressive tunes (one of which partially continues today’s slam theme, the other of which feels a bit more like traditional death metal) and follows with a still-angry-but-melodic song that swirls and evolves through several ideas woven together in a beautiful progression. The last two songs, “Collapsed Star” and “Endless Space,” are by far my favorites. The former is a Martriden-esque progressive death metal song with a strong emphasis on hooks, and the latter would have fit very well on last year’s Exgenesis record. Collapsar is a shifting examination of the various realms of tech death with a singular sound, staying focused despite its myriad styles.