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Different cuts for different executioners. - 78%

hells_unicorn, May 24th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Independent

Originally billed as a gore-obsessed acolyte of the death metal ways of bands like Cannibal Corpse and early Suffocation, with perhaps a slight bit more of a technical edge, Archaic Decapitator soon began approaching the concept of brutality a bit differently. It stands to reason that their disposition as an American act formed in the late 2000s that they would be impacted to some degree by the scene surrounding them, namely the tech. obsessed brutality of a number of east coast outfits such as Arsis and fellow New England compatriots Revocation, not to mention the speed-infused and slightly touched by metalcore melodic sensibilities of The Black Dahlia Murder (TBDM). This was basically the eventual evolutionary path they took following the release of their 2011 debut Impalement Ceremonies, albeit with a few interesting twists.

Being the second installment of a trilogy of EPs, Light Of A Different Sun carries the unique disposition of largely eschewing the nuance that goes with being a technically-geared American melodic death metal album, all the while still employing it from time to time. The basic meat and potatoes of its presentation is a rapid foray of blasting and machine gun precise brutality with a melancholic melodic gloss that is largely in line with Nocturnal out of TBDM, with a slight helping of Necrophagist-inspired technical flair. But even when presented in a more straightforward packaging as on chaotic riff monsters like "Cult Of Reanimators" and "Light Of A Different Sun", there is a sense of nuanced beauty that shines forth, largely during the flowing lead guitar passages like a blaze of Jon Petrucci amid a sky of recent At The Gates meets Allegaeon.

Despite the generally furious nature of this album, the points where things truly shine and a dose of distinctiveness from the rest of the American scene truly makes it known is when things move away from the TBDM brand of ferocity. The closing anthem "Face Of Asag" does a brilliant job of bringing a more conservative take on melodeath in line with mid-90s In Flames and Dark Tranquillity into a more modernized context while not robbing the original idea of its mystique. But the true zenith moment proves to be the longer length middle anthem "The Three Poisons", which precedes and closes out a tech. death extravaganza with a series of brilliantly realized atmospheric piano passages, almost like a brief respite at a tranquil oasis at dusk before trudging once more into the giant scorpion pits of some mythical desert without end.

Though a bit on the typical side for American melodic death metal, especially within the context of 2016, this is a solid offering of highly detailed intricacy that doesn't skip out on the aggression. The guitar work and heavily emphasized drumming are the chief features, but the vocal work also proves to be reasonably versatile and covers most of the spectrum of toneless shrieks and grunts that have been employed in extreme metal, minus some of the more bizarre ones heard out of the brutal/slam side of the scene. Anyone with a pallet for the likes of Inferi, Vale Of Pnath or Arsis will find an agreeable entree here, or perhaps more of an appetizer given the shorter duration. Not quite up to the caliber of vintage The Black Dahlia Murder, but within striking distance of their more recent offerings.