Review Summary: Complexity that has restraint allowing for actual musicality with all instrumentality being actually well executed saves this album from the mediocrity of the modern tech-death morass.
Archspire are a tech-death band I ran the *** away from because of my ever growing hatred for the modern tech-death scene (Ulcerate are the best modern tech-death band) and how it gets increasingly like the new Deathcore because every kid with a guitar wants to noodle away like mad since it became massively popular.
Archspire are also notable for combining things like mathcore elements, which results in dissonant Dillinger-esque riffs and chords that go absolutely ***ing insane whenever they please, a ridiculously fast vocalist who honestly sounds like he's going to die at any moment, and a comically large amount of noodling into their music.
Due to my ridiculous boner for TDEP, I decided finally to check them out, and I was pleased to find it was nothing like Brain Drill, who this band has seen comparison to around the internet for some bizarre ***ing reason. However, that does not mean they are without needless wankery, because that wouldn't make a modern tech-death band at all. No, there's plenty of that, but it at least has coherence, unlike many a RoS and Brain Drill album. Thankfully it manages to not overstay its welcome or drown you in collective nonsense so's to make it impossible to remember this album.
From the very first track Deathless Ringing you get a taste of what this band is made of, ridiculously fast melodious leadwork, dissonant mathy chords, insanely fast vocal work that switches between a mid-register hardcore-esque bark and a high-register shriek, nutso bass-noodling and ***ing DRUMS.
That's all I can really say to describe the drums honestly, they're everywhere and do basically everything, they're DRUMS, the all caps is necessary. Ascendance to The Summoning is another great showcase of the complete insanity of this band, opening with an extended high shriek and has a pretty damn catchy lead at almost all times, along with impressive basswork, although, like most of the album it's unfortunately much of the same thing.
Ancient of Ancients is an odd track, most of it is just this lumbering riff that ends in this atrocious bending thing that sounds really ***ty but it's cool, as with most things in metal that sound ***ty. It kinda breaks the routine of the album by being slow and focusing on the rapid-fire delivery of the vocalist, occasionally broken by insane noodling on the guitar and the occasional increase in the ferocious speed, and I like it for that, for whatever reason the aforementioned lumbering riff sounds like something that could've been stolen straight from the album Obscura if it only went on to do some more weirdness.
Complete with a wholly satisfactory ending with the track Rapid Elemental Dissolve, which ends and bleeds into the instrumental title-track closer, which honestly may as well be the same song because it is the same ***ing thing as the ending to Rapid Elemental Dissolve just given an exclusive track for some reason. This track tag-team has complex leadwork, atmosphere buildup, bat*** time-signature changes, great drumwork, amazing vocal ferocity and crazy solos, which honestly have been everywhere on this album but really it's most appropriate to mention them here because the solos on Really Fast Essential Disintegration really stand out amongst the tracks we've already heard.
I was surprised to enjoy this album, but it's still far from what could be called "amazing" like many claim it to be for some reason, as this album suffers from a problem that plagues modern-tech death constantly, it does often bleed too much into itself to give the other tracks more of an identity, so there's only about 3 tracks that really showcase anything truly amazing that they stand out at all, the production sometimes comes across as overproduced in some areas, although here it's not all that noticeable, however if we're going to talk about their sophomore album, which I will, then we'll have more of a problem with that, everything else is just nitpicking of "everything is too ***ing wanky" or "very little actual riffing" that I usually complain about with modern tech-death, so that's kinda all the problems this album has.
Ancient of Ancients
Rapid Elemental Dissolve