Archspire
Relentless Mutation


3.6
great

Review

by Jacquibim STAFF
September 25th, 2017 | 118 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tech-shred to be enjoyed, not just appreciated.

Archspire's all-flash style has drawn both ire and esteem, but they've remained headstrong, turning the wick up with every iteration to the chagrin of their critics, and I admire that. With that in mind, Relentless Mutation, their tertiary album, conveys a kind of self-assurance that was missing from their first two – like they no longer feel the need to look back at the audience as if to say, “see what we just did"” Their skills were never in doubt and, with that having sunk in, they've begun to artistically push themselves in ways that were hinted at in the past.

The sterility which plagued their work has been mitigated, and everything sounds much more balanced. Dean Lamb's 7th and 8th strings actually boast some bottom-end now. His use of them is often fleeting, too, so bouts of witting heaviness actually have some impact. The drumming of Spencer Prewett is less digital in tone, albeit still clean as a surgeon's scalpel – before the operation at least. However, this is no wrongdoing, because missing out on any of Spencer's fills or ghost notes would have me feeling ripped off. Binding this cocktail of virtuosity together is a modern, not-too-loud master that allows for proper dynamic shifts. “Involuntary Doppelganger”, “A Dark Horizontal” and the title-track all have clean sections that give the ears some much needed respite. Better still, is the fact they maintain the flow of each song by using pre-established motifs, doubling as thematic bridges as well as reprieves.

The crystal clarity still has the effect of the performances feeling intensely mechanised, but also alive – not like a dial-up modem so much as a T-101 doing what it does best. Oli Peters' false chord speed rapping is as metronomic as the instrumentation that backs it, only this time, more exuberant and expressive. Low-end bellows may be absent, but Oli does vary his pace and delivery with zest, from somewhat fast, to fast, to really fucking fast. Hell, he deserves extra credits for pulling off tongue rolls during “Human Murmuration” on top of everything else.

The leading role often switches between Oli and the axemen either side of him, who've not only defied naysayers in upping the technicality further still, but also spliced in some acute phrasing that is all too easy to overlook should your attention dip for but a moment. They've even managed to pen some ear-worms, such as the main motif in “Remote Tumour Seeker”. The whole ordeal is still masturbatory as ever, sure; you're never too far away from some kind of faster-than-you-can-blink shreddery, but now their performances feel genuinely musical as opposed to note-density competitions of two.

No doubt, the unfettered song-writing is the silver bullet here. No longer do the songs feel like static platforms upon which the members boast their skills; just about every cut here will throw some kind of curve-ball at you, some doing so repeatedly in one sitting. This kind of spontaneity makes the intentionally over-the-top musicianship actually feel purposeful, all the while, songs progress in logical patterns despite their ostensible waywardness. Trying to keep up as riffs and leads duck, weave, twist and churn is intoxicating at the best of times and exhausting at others, but don't let that fool you into thinking this can be a grind – Relentless Mutation is virtuosity at the speed of light, but more importantly, it's really, really fun.




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user ratings (110)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Evokaphile (4)
relentlessly mutating...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
September 24th 2017


2124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

birb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk9hsCVkpn0



stream below the review, have fun

clavier
September 24th 2017


455 Comments


One day I will meet these guys and tell them that a pone wrote a very good review on them

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
September 24th 2017


2124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just don't tell them about my last one and I'm sure they'll be flattered

BlushfulHippocrene
September 24th 2017


2017 Comments


Great review as always, Jac.

Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

kingdedethefifth
September 24th 2017


4264 Comments


Good big words
Good review, will check

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
September 24th 2017


1815 Comments


the longest word was masturbatory

funnily enough

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
September 24th 2017


2124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

had to bring out the big guns for this primo wank ya feel

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2017


1877 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

speaking of things cleaner than a surgeon's scalpel before an operation: your writing :sunglasses:



srs though i admire how concise your style is jac!!! it's descriptive but somehow not in lieu of actual analysis and i love it : )



i will actually check this i think

hal1ax
September 25th 2017


9209 Comments


nice review man
i'm normally not too keen on tech death but maybe i'll give this a shot

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2017


2124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers blush, dede, jack and hal < 3



I'm not sure if this is your style hal but of all the hyper-clean noodle tech out this year, this is easily the best

hal1ax
September 25th 2017


9209 Comments


ahh ok. ya i'll give it a go. i like necrophagist so maybe there's a touch of noodle in my purview

brainmelter
September 25th 2017


4575 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

whoa this is actually decent?

Digging: Options - Driftwood Metaphor

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
September 25th 2017


3359 Comments


Yeah, big step up for them. But after my first listen, I don't know how much replayability it'll have. It didn't "feel" like the kind of tech death album I usually come back to over and over.

Evokaphile
September 25th 2017


5934 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Someday Ill review an album that Jac has no interest in.

Digging: Slowdive - Slowdive

bloc
September 25th 2017


44378 Comments


"But after my first listen, I don't know how much replayability it'll have. It didn't "feel" like the kind of tech death album I usually come back to over and over."

Yep I agree with this. Good album though.

Digging: Beastmilk - Climax

MarsKid
September 25th 2017


5608 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great as per usual. Looks like we agree on something this time around Jacman!

WretchedCacophony
September 25th 2017


273 Comments


The songs I heard off this album are pretty sweet. More enjoyable than the stunning yet confused tracks off the previous album.
They're pretty responsive on facebook so you can hit them up or forward this over to them if you so desire.

Evokaphile
September 25th 2017


5934 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They blew a kiss at me when I sent them my review lol

DungeonBoy
September 25th 2017


3249 Comments


Enjoyed the review, but the music not so much. Tech death is a mostly miss genre for me, but I'm always willing to check out some new tunes. From what I listened to, this album sounds insanely tight and precise, and manages to avoid the sterility of a lot of similar acts. Who knows though, with studio trickery and all, I'm not sure what I'm actually listening to.

Also, that kick sound is awful.

Evokaphile
September 25th 2017


5934 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Theyre flawless live if that counts for anything. Check out their playthroughs on youtube and get wrekt



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