Tech Death Thursday: The Zenith Passage – Solipsist

Tech Death Thursday veterans The Zenith Passage are back with their first full-length album!

Before we dive into that, your usual tech news:

  • Starting us off with a proper mindfuck is Zygoma with their new track “Red Curtain Falls.” Chaotic song structure mixes with surprisingly catchy hooks and, uh, a little bit of reggae. Look for The Highest Court on May 17th.
  • Dethrone the Sovereign have put up a 360 degree playthrough for their latest single, “The Vitruvian Augmentation.” The video quality isn’t great, but it’s cool to see each member doing their thing. Oh, and the song is pretty damn good, too (and you can get it here for free!).
  • First Fragment have finally given us a taste of their upcoming album Dasein. Check out “Le Sermont de Tsion,” which sounds like a tasty mixture of ArsisGorod, and Vale of Pnath to my ears.
  • The third and final preview for Terminal Redux, the newest offering from Vektor, is up now. “Pillars of Sand” might very well be the strongest of the three new tunes and has one of their best chorus riffs by a long shot. Can it be May now?
  • Xenomorphic Contamination have a new song out, and it’s rill heavy. Look for Colonized From the Inside sometime this month.
  • Imperium have released a teaser for their upcoming album, Titanomachy, due out on May 7th. No full songs are available at time of writing, but there will be one online around the time this is published.

 

It had been a long time since we heard anything from The Zenith Passage after the release of their 2013 EP The Cosmic Dissonance. They put out a single pre-production track in 2014 and went quiet. With guitarist Justin McKinney joining The Faceless not long after, one could be forgiven for having doubts about the future of the band. Fortunately, those doubts proved to be unfounded; the above “Holographic Principle II: Convergence” heralded the arrival of Solipsist, the band’s first full-length album.

I noticed instantly (well, after creepy Nintendo-noises intro “Holographic Principle I”) that the band has significantly beefed up their sound since Cosmic Dissonance. My biggest gripe with that EP was the inconsistency of the writing, as most of it focused on slow builds with quick bursts of notes at the end. Two-guitar tech death tends to sound thin, especially with the genre’s pervasive use of compression and noise gates. Thankfully, the band seems to have realized this, as Solipsist sounds much fuller than their previous offering. The riffs still have that hybrid Faceless/Soreption quality to them with plenty of start-stop grooves and alien flourishes, but there’s not as much empty space between them. I would go so far as to say their use of space (and not the purple swirly shit kind) is one of the strongest parts of the album, drawing a clear line between themselves and the thousand-notes-per-minute tendencies of their contemporaries.

Going back to the aforementioned compression and noise gates, I know some of you will be disappointed (and completely unsurprised) that Solipsist features very sterile production. However- and hear me out on this- this is an instance where I believe the music is actually enhanced by stripping away some of the human element. These are songs that are meant to feel robotic, and I don’t just mean being machine-accurate. The melodies themselves are extremely evocative of “digital age” feelings and imagery, particularly the main riff of “Deus Deceptor” (which, incidentally, is my favorite song on the album). This is the soundtrack to being hunted by a Terminator; it’s precise, it’s unrelenting, and terrifying in its cold roboticism.

If there’s one complaint I have with this album, it’s that the latter half to me a few listens to really click. Maybe it was just due to coming off the high of “Deus Deceptor,” but the later songs didn’t grab my attention quite like the first few did, or at least not as immediately. After being able to sit with the album for awhile and really dig into it, I was able to pick apart some of the complexities and appreciate it much more. It rewards the patient listener (or the very focused listener), so I would recommend dedicating some time to it.

 LOW

Solipsist ultimately represents the band cementing their identity in place. They’ve honed the sound they began developing years ago to a razor’s edge, nailing both the atmosphere and the songwriting. It’s an all around satisfying listen, and that’s why I’m giving it:

4.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

NEW_TOILETSCALE_4-5_of_5

Solipsist will be available on April 15th through Unique Leader. You can find The Zenith Passage on Facebook; tell them the Toilet says hello. Until next time, fellow flushers,

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 techdeathtovh@gmail.com and make your voice heard!

(Image VIA)

  • Lacertilian

    While the length of time between their killer EP and this record was quite vast in terms of modern releases (barring Necrophagist), I think it may have increased my desire to hear this album at a time when tech-death has drifted off my radar somewhat.
    Your composed critique here has me wondering that if it doesn’t quite live up to the expectations I’ve placed on it, that there might be something different completely for me to sink my claws into instead.
    Cheers Spear!

  • COAL ROLL

    this can;t be tech death the album cover is not shades of purple

  • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

    The harmonized vocals on the first track are rather eerie.

    • they are icky, for sure.

      I am sure they can grow on you with additional listens… it is just tough taking someones advice to “… recommend dedicating some time to it”, when on the first pass you instantly have a bad reaction. Ya know?

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        I kinda liked how eerie it was.

        • WELL FINE THEN

          <3

  • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

    Nice write-up Spearman! I think I actually kind of like this, it may not be purchase worthy for me now, but there may be a time when it is.

  • Is their like one artist that is especially known for doing mostly just tech-death album artwork? There is usually one artist for each genre of metal.

    • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

      I never thought about it that way. There are some definite answers for artists representing certain genres.

      • Exactly. One of my favorite artists is Chris Moyen. He is mostly in the black and death metal category.

        https://www.discogs.com/artist/1374874-Chris-Moyen

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          Damn, that is a lot of covers.
          Ed Repka for thrash.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            John Wayne Gacy for sludge metal.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Enjoy before Rotten Records takes this one down again.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKexYI6fAok

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            God Machine is my favourite song from that album.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Difficult for me to choose a favorite song from that album. It’s one of my favorites. So many great moments.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Vberkvlt is pretty damn cool, too: http://www.vberkvlt.com/pages/selected_pieces

    • Par Olofsson does a ton of the shit.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          [PRESS X TO USE GRAPPLING HOOK]

          • or [PRESS Y TO USE ICE BEAM]

          • CyberneticOrganism

            [ENTER THE BEAST’S MAW TO FIND HIS WEAK SPOT]

          • I really have no idea what we are talking about. lol

          • CyberneticOrganism

            [PRESS X TO INSULT THE BEAST’S MOTHER’S COOKING]

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            [PRESS Y TO POINT OUT SIZE OF THE BEAST’S MOTHER’S REAR END]

          • CyberneticOrganism

            – Your mom’s meatballs suck!
            – I’ve had better lasagna from a dumpster!
            – That was worse than Olive Garden!
            This tastes like a sewer pipe of cancer! <<<

          • Dialog options? You guys have gone from action to RPG.

          • NO GENRE CHANGING.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            [PRESS Y TO MOURN AERIS LIKE A WUSS]

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            Crossover gaming.
            [PRESS X FOR BREAKDOWN]

          • “You are the burn master!” (am i doing it rite?)

          • WouldTakeToOliveGarden/10

            HAHAHAHAH

          • CyberneticOrganism

            [PRESS △ TO USE ELIXIR AND REVIVE BURN MASTER]

          • THERE HAS GOTTA BE ROOM FOR A “HAVE FAYTHE” JOKE SOMEWHERE IN HERE… I JUST CANNOT FIND IT.

            I GUESS I BETTER JUST HAVE FAYTHE

            HAHAHAHAHA FLUCK YEAH

          • CyberneticOrganism

            [PRESS X TO MOCK LORD NEFARYOUS]
            [PRESS Y TO HAVE FAYTHE]
            [PRESS A TO MIKE PORTNOY]

          • You make me laugh so hard bby

          • *presses A*
            Choose your beard colour:
            ☐ Blue
            ☐ Natural

          • [PRESS YY TO CROP DUST MOTHER’S KITCHEN]
            *PASSIVELY AGGRESSIVELY FARTS*

        • Spawn of Possession. I really enjoyed their first album a lot. This song is a fucking jam.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICQXwYs7MRw

          • i’m going to assumate, judging from how much they’ve changed and the style of music you enjoy, that you don’t like their new stuff. (neither do i bby)

          • Correct.

          • we’re so alone in that regard.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            ” don’t like their new stuff. (neither do i bby) ”

            I like the way you’re thinking.

        • That album is an exhausting listen. Awesome in my opinion, but I’m done for the night if I listen all the way through.

          • I feel that way about Obscura by Gorguts.

          • Totally. I have to psych myself up beforehand.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            I feel Obscura is always a very rewarding listen though.

          • It’s one of the best for those moments where previously you couldn’t make any sense of it, and then suddenly you’re like “oh cool! I see what you’re doing there.”

      • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

        With great expertise. His work looks really good.

      • Spear

        That he does. This one was Ken Sarafin, though.

    • Lacertilian

      Par Olaffson

  • Eliza

    Thanks for reminding me about this album Spear. I listened to a few parts of it a while ago, and even though I liked what I heard, I simply forgot to check the entire album out. It still sounds great.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    “This is the soundtrack to being hunted by a Terminator; it’s precise, it’s unrelenting, and terrifying in its cold roboticism.”

    Niiiice, thanks for the props. The song kinda cool despite the overzealous noise-gating, but oof those are some bad lyrics.

    • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

      People listen to Tech-death for the lyrics?

      • I listen to tech-death for teh beats.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        If you’re so horribly bad at writing lyrics, go instrumental.
        As long as lyrics are there , they’re there to be paid attention to (less in metal, but still)
        Unless you’re Mike “Lussukulli” Patton.

        • Owlswald

          I would say I 100% don’t pay attention to death metal lyrics as I can’t usually discern the words anyway.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Most don’t much, not when it comes to extreme metal.
            I rarely do as I listen, but I tend to check ’em out.
            The thing is, if you don’t care about the lyrics – don’t pretend that you do. Either don’t sing, just use your voice without words or if you have to, go the MorbidEvils way. So simple it isn’t going to be bad and and you have some meaningless words to guide your use of voice.

          • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

            Last death lyrics I can think of where it actually hit home was Gojira’s ‘From Mars To Sirius’, or Death.

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          You make fair point.

        • [see Lacertilian regarding vocals in merol]

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Mike Patton <<<<<<<<<<

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            I like some of the musical projects he is in, but I utterly and completely agree.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            He seems like a 4chan user

      • Xinen

        The one exception I can think of for myself is Dim Mak. Knives of Ice is one of my Top… 20ish albums, and the vocals are imho great. The lyrics are obviously Lovecraft/Asia worship, and well done I think. Perpetuating Corpses is my fave, but they are all great songs.

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          I will check this out.

    • Spear

      Yeah… tech death bands need to stop doing lyric videos.

      • Owlswald

        Nothing like having a virtual tour of a lyric video.

      • Every band ever needs to stop doing lyric videos. FTFY

        • Vladimir Poutine

          Agreed. They tend to distract me from the music itself; if I want the lyrics, I’ll read them before or after.

          • Vlad!

          • Vladimir Poutine

            I have returned! Been lurking in silence for too long.

          • Glad to have you around!

            Also, your last name should be Poontang. Just for a day. It would be awesome. Thanks.

          • Ah, yes. The ‘tang must be respected.

            Done and DONE.

          • Three cheers for Vladimir!

            Hip hip!

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            HOORAY!

          • Hip hip!

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            HOORAY!!

          • Hip hip!!

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            HOORAY!!!

          • We really need to get a room or sumthin

        • Pentagram Sam

          I’ve seen a few lyric vids that are interesting but very few. Maybe cos I’m an ass-whole, but lyric vids were what fans made in the early days of the You Tube if they couldn’t piece together a regular music video. So to see bands “debut” lyric vids seems a bit weird. They’ve almost got to the point where they act like it’s a music vid and have a BIG PREMIER for a glorified fan vid.

    • music has lyrics?

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY
        • Owlswald

          Indeed. He was growling about world peace.

        • Some of the greatest death metal lyrics.

        • Dave Vincent’s Perm

          Worm got shitfaced before going into the studio to record vocals for the first two albums, and just growled randomly through them.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            More vocalists should get shitfaced before recording the vocals.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Yes. It lends to a specific kind of DM vocals that I really love where they genuinely sound like mental patients. Case in point;
            http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7XwO_emwAoQ

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Oh look, another one of the greatest DM albums ever.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            I fucking love death metal.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Everybody should.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            I love how on paper Severed Survival should be an absolutely shite album; messy, sloppy solos, out of key vocals, weird flappy bass, but as a whole it’s like being hanged with chains in the basement of a slaughterhouse.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            The key word in this case is “atmosphere”. Something I personally feel a lot of those modern super noodly tech-death bands lack.

            *runs and takes cover from the upcoming lynch mob*

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Technicality is fine if it’s used in a way which engages the listener, but too often it’s for its own sake.

          • You’re not wrong.

          • Lynch Mob>>>>

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            Lynch Mob <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

          • I know you mean well, bby

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross
          • Óðinn

            Ice Cube and Da Lench Mob is Jackin’ For Beats. Just sayin’.

            https://youtu.be/oTfkAicXmEo

          • Óðinn

            100 Miles and Runnin’ for no particular reason.

            https://youtu.be/GiDti_Xnnmo

          • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

            You can run a 100 miles but ya still got one to go
            https://youtu.be/NkEcNmBPlVg

          • Haha, Parental Advisory. I can’t tell you the last time I bought a CD with a Parental Advisory sticker on it.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Parental advisory: buying this may turn your child into a Satan worshipping, drug taking church desecrator.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Is that Fenriz?

          • Yeah, you ever see that video?

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Now that you mention it, yeah.

          • You know that intro to Dopesick? Yeah, that was Mike shitfaced in the studio breaking a bottle in his hands. Fucked up.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TGjqGa9p6U

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Yeah that’s a really vile piece of music. The whole album is great. In fact, Eyehategod as a whole is fucking great.

          • Agreed.

    • Darkspace’s approach to sci fi metal lyrics FTW: no lyrics, just screams.

  • Those stops at the begining of “Deus Deceptor” sound awkward to me. Like the editing shaved off the begining and end of it in an effort to make it tighter.

    • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

      Huh, now that you point that out I can hear what you mean.

    • Spear

      The noise gating is real, but I actually liked the way it turned out. I’ve had that riff stuck in my head for days now.

      • I just feel like they should’ve let that one breathe a little. Wonder if they did a demo of this track.

  • JEALOUS

    • Spear

      Only a week to go, at least

      • Says you, I won’t be able to ignore the inevitable leak, but I pre ordered so I also won’t feel bad about downloading said leak.

      • WE WILL HAVE DARK SOULS 3 WHEN IT DROPS

  • Mmmmm, this some tasty tech death.

  • Lyric videos are a plague upon this earth. Their wretched life must be ERADICATED

    • Who the fuck even started them? I remember Relapse being one of the first.

      • Idk but they need to be punched in the face real hard like.

      • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

        From what I can tell, it started with MTV docs back in the 90’s.

        “The real life story of Korn”, then flashy, shaky words flying at the screen. I also blame JJ Abrams.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      [PRESS ⬛ TO ATTACK LYRIC VIDEO]

    • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

      I wouldn’t mind them as much if they didn’t have the flashy Super Seizure Robots thing going on with the lyrics. That reminds me of the corny ‘jump in front of the camera’ shit from MTV docs back in the day.

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    I hope my copy of Nespithe arrives soon.

    • Scrimm

      I hope it does too. No one should be without.

  • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

    Pretty good! Especially the Final Fantasy theme song playing in the back on the first song, lol. The drumming is sick as fuck, and everything else sounds tighter than carbon in a fresh diamond.

  • hieronymus bossk

    Not sure if bass drums or a man on speed at a typewriter.

    • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

      How about typewriter drums…
      https://youtu.be/Cn9i9TEoJEs

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Ha ha ha ha great intro

        • Boss theSpeedMetalBastard Ross

          Freaking awesome track.

    • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

      It’s definitely got triggers going on. Big time.

      • hieronymus bossk

        Triggers technically may not be considered “cheating”, but man do they sound like shit.

        • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

          I dunno, it’s a crutch if you’re a purist, but I’m all about the final result.

          • hieronymus bossk

            I’d agree to that to some extent in terms of a subjective context. If it sounds good, so be it, but this doesn’t sound good to me.

  • Scrimm

    Ouch that cover.. Really looking forward to Xenomorphic Contamination.

  • Waynecro

    These are some mighty fine tech-death selections, Spear. Thank you! My nuts have been incinerated to ash and scattered to the four winds (five winds if you count the breeze from my ceiling fan).