ARCHSPIRE — Relentless Mutation

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ARCHSPIRE - Relentless Mutation cover
3.81 | 5 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2017

Tracklist

1. Involuntary Doppelganger (3:46)
2. Human Murmuration (4:12)
3. Remote Tumour Seeker (4:01)
4. Relentless Mutation (4:34)
5. The Mimic Well (4:04)
6. Calamus Will Animate (3:50)
7. A Dark Horizontal (6:10)

Total Time 30:37

Line-up/Musicians

- Spencer Prewett / Drums
- Tobi Morelli / Guitars
- Dean Lamb / Guitars
- Oli Peters / Vocals
- Jared Smith / Bass

About this release

Format: CD, Vinyl, Coloured Vinyl (700 copies)
Label: Season of Mist
Release date: September 22nd, 2017

Coloured Vinyl:
- 500 copies on blue vinyl with black splatter.
- 100 copies on blue vinyl.
- 100 copies on clear vinyl.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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Season of Mist 2017
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ARCHSPIRE RELENTLESS MUTATION reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

voila_la_scorie
A few months back, I watched a video review of this album on Banger TV on YouTube. I was intrigued first because the band is from Vancouver (my old stomping grounds) and second because of what the reviewer had to say about the music (I believe the rating was four and a half skulls out of five). I finally ordered it only a few weeks ago and only recently have I been able to lend some valuable ear time to this album.

I can’t believe how short it is! Barely 30 minutes! But then, there are only seven songs. Nevertheless, those seven songs make for one very complete album. By the time it’s all over, you might feel as though you just stepped of a rollercoaster ride, the kind that sends you careering through machinegun crossfire in an ashen landscape of smoke and fire before at times lifting you abruptly into peaceful, lulling and lush pastures, and then dropping you back down into bombast and mayhem.

But this is no ordinary mayhem. It’s super tight and quite remarkable that these lads can play at such speeds with so many stops and abrupt tempo changes. While tech/extreme metal is something I’ve only become acquainted with in the last year or so, I am truly amazed at the dexterity and timing skill bands like Between the Buried and Me, Protest the Hero, Decrepit Birth, and Obscura exhibit. Archspire easily fit into this kind of highly technical playing and composing.

One thing I really notice when listening to this album is that I can pick out each track from the others. Some death metal albums have an overall sound which is awesome but each track blends into the others with little variation. Archspire add some standard heavy riffing in breaks between the rapid-fire, single-note picking and just as easily they can slow down, ease off and go clean (those are the lush, pastoral parts).

Three things to point out specifically. Jared Smith’s bass playing is stunning. Dude can easily keep up with the guitarists in notes per second but with, what’s that?, tapping and hammering? Chords? Awesome! Spencer Prewett’s drumming is intense and pummeling and, to my ears, sounds really well recorded and mixed. It must be quite a feat to get the four musicians playing that fast and that tight live. Finally, Oli Peters vocals stand out because at times they sound like a percussive instrument or fill the role of percussion. Oh, yes, there’s the usual death metal growl and the modern obligatory reverse screaming that sounds like pig squeals. But he fires off the lyrics in ultra-quick staccato: chu-ku-ta, chu-ku-ta, chu-ta-ga. This is punctuated by blast beats, and it’s something I haven’t heard done quite like this. In fact, this very vocal style was highlighted during the Banger TV review of the album.

I get such a rush while listening to this CD. I think the band was very wise to make it so brief. Seven distinct songs of extremely fast, tight, technical playing with a number of surprises. I am so very pleased to hear a Vancouver band performing this challenging music at such a high level of ability. Stay tech!
Nightfly
Relentless Mutation is the third album from Canada’s Archspire. Having not heard them until now I thought I’d better check out the first two before reviewing this one, at least in part, which I did selecting a few random tracks from each.

Relentless Mutation is more of the same – that is to say high precision technical death metal displaying admiral musicianship. Most of it’s played at breakneck speed through a blur of blast beats supplied by the impressive Spencer Prewett. Unfortunately it’s marred by a thin boxy drum sound whilst high on definition lacks power. Having said that his busy playing style could have ended up getting lost in a more organic sound so I guess you can’t have it all. The guitar work of Tobi Morelli and Dean Lamb is equally dextrous as they reel off riff after riff and solos of the most complex variety. The opener Involuntary Doppelganger is the perfect case in point and sets the scene for pretty much what you can expect from the rest of the album. Midway however there’s an unexpected surprise with a short but sweet arpeggiated guitar part which adds a bit of colour to the largely relentless onslaught. Similar parts make a welcome appearance now and then throughout the album, most notably on the title track marking it as one of the highlights.

Whilst this kind of stuff can often come across as cold and clinical, as it does fairly often here, there is an injection of melody here and there, more apparent in the lead guitar work which adds some warmth. The vocals have a staccato attack that can sound a little one dimensional at times but nevertheless Oli Peters displays some fairly impressive phrasing. The production whilst lacking a bit of power is at least clear which is pretty essential for music of this complexity. Jared Smith’s dextrous bass work pleasingly cuts through aided by quite a toppy sound.

I’m usually pretty selective in my choice of tech death listening but at only thirty minutes Relentless Mutation doesn’t outstay its welcome. The musicianship is faultless and compositionally it’s good and quite inventive throwing in a few curveballs here and there. Having said that it’s still more an album I can admire rather than love, my preference generally being for something more organic sounding. If this is your thing however there’s plenty to recommend here.

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