The aural landscape that is technical death metal is an interesting one. So many bands in the genre focus a little too much on the technical aspects, leaving their music ridiculously complicated, but sterile and devoid of much else. Playing you instrument at 300 beats per minute is pretty amazing, but it is supposed to be music, not just a display of one’s mastery of their instrument. So when you find a band that is able to do both, like Necrophagist, Origin, or Spawn of Possession, it’s a revelation. Enter the Vancouver, B.C. quintet Archspire. The band’s debut album “All Shall Align,” released in 2011, showed up on my radar for this exact reason. Because of this I was anxious to hear their sophomore effort, “The Lucid Collective” when it was released through Season of Mist on April 29, 2014.
“The Lucid Collective” is the perfect follow up to “All Shall Align” for Archspire. Once again keeping their message short and to the point, “The Lucid Collective” is 8 songs and 34 minutes worth of dizzyingly technical death metal. Even though most of the tracks are played at breakneck speed, Archspire do not befall the same trap as some of their peers and have each song seem to blend into the next. They do a very good job of keeping things interesting. There is enough variation through the use of tempo changes, jolting breaks, and melody shifts to discern between each song. Each musician plays their part intricately and without a blemish. Guitarists Tobi Morelli and Dean Lamb can noodle with the best of them. However; their ability to craft catchy riffs within the medium is a skill in its own.
Bassist Jaron Evil keeps up with Tobi and Dean note for note, his sound reminiscent of Jeroen Paul Thesseling on Obscura’s “Omnivium.” The drumming of Spencer Prewett shifts back and forth from sounding like a swarm of angry hornets to short blasts from an Uzi. His constant use of well-placed cymbal accents sprinkled throughout his rhythms is another welcome nuance of his playing. Vocalist Oli Peters may have the toughest job of all, trying to keep up with the rest of the band. This is exactly where he shines. Oli’s delivery is as fast and tight as any of the instruments and with just as much intonation and diversification.
With some hints of progressiveness layered within shredding, Archspire have put together a pretty nice little package in “The Lucid Collective.” I would almost liken them to Fleshgod Apocalypse without the orchestra. Think about that for a second…now go get the record.