Relentless Mutation - Archspire
Album: Relentless Mutation
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Review by Steve Jenkins
Archspire's inhuman ability to create a particular style of technical death metal has brought some much warranted attention to the band over the past few years. Their fan base has grown and so has their otherworldly onslaught of speedy and tech inspired riffs, vocals and blast beats. Some may class Archspire as a gimmick, as their music is over-the-top but you'd be lying if you didn't think that they aren't extremely talented. The bands third full-length album, Relentless Mutation, is full of deedly-do tech and drumming that sounds like it was made by robots, even the vocals sound like a death metal version of Tech N9ne who is known for his incredibly fast delivery. But this Canadian technical death metal outfit have also added some progression and interesting compositions to their already impressive sound. Prepare to get blasted in the face, by metal of course.
On Relentless Mutation, their overall sound quality and production has improved immensely and so has their intricate details, really nailing their sound with top notch precision. Your ears might be shocked at what they're hearing at first, as it's a lot to take in with their delivery of trademark speed and urgently paced perplexity. Archspire may very well be the fastest band you've ever heard, I would agree. An area where the band have improved quite a lot is in the song writing and song structure department, they've taken out the screwdriver and tightened up every single loose screw. On this album they showcase some of the most insane yet high standard scaling and chord progressions I've heard in a long time played on a guitar. It's clear that Archspire have spent an incredible amount of time perfecting and maturing their sound, as they sound more diverse with song being more memorable and from a musical standpoint perhaps a little more refined. As each song passes on Relentless Mutation, they seem to outdo themselves and deliver something new that you have never heard before which makes for an exciting listen.
Spencer Prewett has once again proven himself to be one of the best drummers in the industry, balancing speed and creativity in equal measure to serve as a rhythmic focal point of the highest order. Offering up minefields of blindingly fast blast beats offset with heart stopping fills and syncopated cymbal work sounds like a cliche trope of the genre when taken out of context, but he does it better than anyone in the game, and his charismatic performance alone is damn-near worth the price of admission. Once again, the massively improved production job serves the individual performances well, adding both depth and impact to their annunciation and approach to death metal. Surely all this musical fitness would be for naught if the songwriting didn’t progress as much as it has here though, and street cred is duly owed to the Archspire crew for proving to tentative fence-sitters everywhere that they have the chops to become a benchmark band. Their musical martial arts are as testing as ever, but as they build gravity defying crescendos and calculated denouements that neatly surmise each audial ass-kicking one track at a time, getting swept up in the grandiosity of their newfound knack for compositional intricacy becomes irresistible.
But the shining star on this album would have to be vocalist, Oli Peters. There aren't too many death metal vocalists that would be able to keep up with the sheer speed of a band like Archspire, but Oli seems to make it look easy. His delivery is superhuman and it could very well pass as 'Death Rap' if that's a thing? It is now. He certainly stand out and straight away becomes one of the most impressive frontmen in the entire genre. Spitting out venom as ferocious speeds, you may not believe that what you hear is actually possible and it will have you skipping back to moments that way into your subconscious mind with speed of sound rapid fire. Oli Peters' performance on this album is worth checking out alone just for the pure lyrical architecture and rhythmic flow that will leave you speechless.
At a well timed half an hour of chaotic mayhem, the velocity that this album travels at is a satisfying amount of time, any longer and it may have lost some of its mind blowing magic. Relentless Mutation is an album that is definitely an earful and as I said earlier, it is over-the-top, but the sheer technical power is just so damn impressive. Archspire are a well oiled machine and they will now be known as legends in the technical death metal community. They have crafted a sound that most might think would be impossible to create, but they've done it and hats off to them. This could have very well been a massive miss that fans may have thought to be a little too ambitious, but they've placed each piece of the puzzle together and have left us with a perfect picture of what technical death metal should sound like in this day and age. I don't think anyone can touch Archspire and nor should they try.
9.5 out of 10
Relentless Mutation is out now via Season Of Mist.
Watch the official lyric video for "Involuntary Doppelgänger" below: