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Most over rated death metal of 2017 - 25%

Grumpy Cat, October 16th, 2018

If one wanted a quick description of Archspire's music it'd be inaccurate for any such description to not include "fast" or "technical", indeed the band's music can be descibed as a flurry of high speed madness and certainly the band members should be given credit for their talent, because they are all immensely talented musicians.

Of course talented musicians don't always write quality music however and Relentless Mutation is proof of it. Archspire's talents accomplish little more than self indulgence because beyond that this album offers basically nothing. Even the foundation of not just death metal, but metal as a whole can scantly be found here as the album is almost devoid of any guitar work that actually resembles a riff, and of the scant choice of riffs there are none that are actually memorable. This isn't just a "oh well I don't like it so it doesn't count as a riff" that people tend to use when discussing chugging or nu-metal either, it's that there are very few measures that get repeated and riffs are by definition are measures that get played multiple times in a row. This rarely happens, because everyone bar the drummer is too busy wanking up all the leads they can come up with.Solos are nice, speed is nice and leads are nice, but when I want to listen to death metal I want to listen to something with strong and prevalent riff work, Archspire simply does not accommodate this in any significant fashion

In addition to the lack of riffs there's the fact that this hits softer than some of the stuff you hear in radio rock. You've got guitars with harmless tones, which even if they did have a harsh tone it'd do nothing because they're too busy playing up through the high register to play anything even remotely hard. High speed drumming could pick up the slack but doesn't because it sounds like hyper sped up plastic spoons. If you were to say listen to Involuntary Doppelganger you'd probably note the only things even remotely abrasive are the drums and vocals, and as I said, they're fast but ultimately the drums are harmless. Its nice that everything is slick and easy to hear, but the tones still carry no weight and the decision to have a polished sound instead of something more raw only emphasizes this.

The most interesting here i the vocals, the style isn't anything to write home about, pretty standard death metal growl, but the delivery is quite well done, spitting out short defined phrases at a high speed to keep up with the shredding guitars, it has almost something of a high speed hip hop that can be verified by the vocalist listing rapper Tech N9ne as a key influence on his style. The high speed guitar work is clearly the focus, but it becomes dull to listen to non stop and barely structured lead work, the vocalist steals the show here.

Omae wa mou shindeiru... - 91%

BastardHead, September 30th, 2018

Like many fans of unabashed extremity, I bought into the tech death craze of the late 2000s really hard. And like 99% of the people who bought into it, I fell out of it fairly quickly. There's only so much brain-warping technicality you can come across before it stops being impressive and starts being the norm. The problem is that the highest bars were all set fairly early and most bands were always chasing a few gargantuan shadows. Early on there were basically only three bands to choose from, and they all one-upped each other super quickly and that was that. Deeds of Flesh is one of the earliest examples to take the Suffocation/Dying Fetus style of brutal death metal with loads of technicality and amp it up to an almost inhuman level of musicianship, Necrophagist pretty definitively laid the foundation for what tech death would become shortly afterwards with Onset of Putrefaction in 1999 (it's easy to forget just how ahead of their time they were) with the insane speed finding itself coupled with highly melodic passages and nutso soloing, and then the following year Origin released their self titled debut and more or less set the standard with their style of what I affectionately call "salad shooter" tech death. For a time, if you liked this style those were really the only three bands worth a damn to choose from, until sometime around 2007ish it just fucking exploded and all of the sudden seemingly everybody was signed to Unique Leader or Willowtip and had Par Olofsson doing their album covers. And despite that, Origin were still the kings of the genre, with their 2008 masterpiece, Antithesis, setting the absolute gold standard of what human limits could achieve within the genre while still crafting memorable and worthwhile songs. Nothing else was that fast, that impressive, and that catchy. For nearly a decade, the entire scene was trying and failing to surpass Antithesis, which is probably a big reason why it fell out of favor so quickly. The apex had already been achieved, and nobody was able to match it.

That lengthy preamble really only serves to provide context for why Archspire has brought the genre back into the spotlight for a time. Despite the fact that a few phenomenal bands managed to flourish in the wake of Antithesis (Hour of Penance, pre-Agony Fleshgod Apocalypse, Spawn of Possession, Decrepit Birth, Hideous Divinity, etc), Archspire was the first band to really hint at having the potential to, on a technical and objective level, finally usurp that thundering monolith of modern metal. The pieces were all there on The Lucid Collective, but the songs themselves hadn't quite reached the level of incessant infectiousness yet to truly push them over the edge. But the writing was on the wall, these guys had the chops to make it happen. And with Relentless Mutation they finally, finally did it.

What makes this album stand out, to me at least, is that it's probably the most unabashedly unrestrained album in the genre. It pushes the limits of human dexterity and lung capacity to levels several parsecs past the last established extreme. Prewett's feet move so fucking fast that it sounds like the bass drum is a god damned ziptie, and Oli Peters can growl and rasp at speeds comparable to a tape on fast forward. It's probably cliche to point out how fast Archspire is, but it is their most notable quality regardless. I think the reason Oli and Spencer have become such superstars in the scene is because they're probably the first at their respective instruments to truly ascend to a higher plane of skill. Speedy and precise drummers have been commonplace in tech death forever now, but Prewett's sheer relentlessness is something you don't really get all that often. Despite the mechanically precise drumming on display, he still feels human. The first time I heard John Longstreth or Lord Marco drum, I felt like I was hearing somebody who was let loose on a drum machine and just went overboard. The first time I heard Prewett, even though it was on an album much less memorable than this one, I felt like how I felt the first time I heard Pete Sandoval or Flo Mournier. All you need to do is listen to pretty much any song here, or watch a drum playthrough or something, and you'll understand just how special he is. Playing this insane doesn't usually come with such feeling, but somehow he manages it. There's a lot of passion and feeling in his spastic drum performance, it's a very emotionally charged blast of aggression, as laser-guided and pinpoint as it is. Oli needs less explaining, because all I can think to say is "Think about how impressed scene veterans are with Corpsegrinder's rate of delivery. Now imagine him on a coke bender." He sounds like a rabid wolverine, with each syllable punctuated for emphasis, so he rattles off these ridiculously verbose lyrics with a fine tuned breathless staccato roar. It's like getting punched a thousand times in a few seconds.

The other guys are obviously great as well, but the drums and vocals are indisputably what gave Archspire their push towards fame. However, all of these standout technical performances would mean something between "jack" and "shit" if the songs themselves weren't great as well. That is where The Lucid Collective failed, but it is where Relentless Mutation excels. This album has hooks out the fucking wazoo, and since it keeps itself contained to a mere thirty minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome, deftly maneuvering through a few million notes with such glitter-tossing flair that you're sure to remember the multitude vocal lines and bass breaks. "Involuntary Doppelganger" has become an instant hit for good reason, as it manages to perfectly blend the frenzied speed with well crafted hooks in a way that nobody has been able to replicate since Origin a decade prior. "Remote Tumour Seeker" and the title track are highlights in this regard as well, with the latter throwing in some spacey prog sections as well. Usually that shit would annoy me, but it's a welcome break from the overwhelming deluge of riffery that the rest of the album giddily rejoices in. Even the occasional proggy sections like this still see the bass noodling around with bloopy arpeggios and the drums never stop pummeling away with inhumanly fast skinwork. There's even a nice vocal intro for "Calamus Will Animate", coupled with a handful of absolutely devastating breakdowns across a few tracks. If nothing else, these guys understand the value of throwing a few curveballs now and then, because tech death can tend to be too much of the same at times. There are samey moments here and there of course, it's unavoidable with the style, but there are enough neat little oddities here and there that it winds up being an ultimately small issue.

The album artwork is a pretty good visualization of what Relentless Mutation sounds like. It's completely overwhelming, seeing the listener frantically clawing at their own face while they drown, begging for some sort of release from this fast-expanding virus that eats your flesh and sprouts cancerous growths and parasitic leeches. Thankfully, the band revels in this utter batshittery and winds up being very enjoyable in their mania. The album has been out for a little over a year now, and I still find myself coming back to it for the occasional maiming. One of my biggest regrets is snubbing this for my year end list last year in favor of Hideous Divinity. They're still great, don't get me wrong, but Archspire is on a whole other level, and something this exceptional deserves all the love it can get.

Originally written for Lair of the Bastard

Epitome of Modern Tech-death - 90%

ihate_00, May 5th, 2018

I still fondly remember the time when I was deeply in love with the music of 'Necrophagist'. That phase passed quite quickly and I never really got interested in any other technical death acts much (well, it's hard to after you listen to the best that the genre has to offer actually), but I never forgot 'Muhammed Suiçmez' and his excellent song-writing. It's been a long time, its 2017 and 'Archspire' has managed to make me relive that elation.

This album in its thirty and a half minutes length does what many dare not hope to achieve in more than twice its length. The songwriting is top-notch, while the technically pleasing instruments exquisitely complement each other and as a refreshing take the production for once does indeed highlight aspects otherwise would have been lost in the cacophony of tech-death. This album did have many of the transitions which quite often make or break a technical death album, but 'Archspire' used these quite methodically most of the time just using it to showcase one instrument above others.

If I try to break down the efforts of the musicians, the vocals might be a bit annoying at first listen, but did become a lot pleasing once I got used to it. 'Oli Peters' know when to up the ante with his delivery blurring comprehension and when to make his pronunciation almost decipherable creating catchy as hell chorus lines. He also occasionally used his vocals to emphasize some technical bits of the instrumentation as well. The dual guitars do their job thoroughly giving the listeners a mix of delicious riffs, horrendously speedy pieces and short yet enjoyable solos. Unorthodox to many metal albums the bass line is quite audible here, even surpassing the guitar-work at times and smalls bits of bass solos does whet the appetite as well. The drumming by 'Spencer Prewett' was precise to their style and does what it should by being blindingly fast but never really overshadowing the other stuff going on.

Despite having a very short length compared to albums these days, 'Relentless Mutation' has all the goods on offer, yet this length does indeed evoke a sense of incompleteness at times. But then again this shortness does help motivate for multiple listens as a matter of fact. I, myself, have always favored quality over quantity. The music at times might seem rather melodic due to the catchy nature of some of some of the choruses and the beautiful riffs on offer. On a side note the lyrics also seem to have much more originality than average tech-death with the band trying to create almost a concept album here.

The nature of the overall experience of this album does make finding highlights a tough choice, but among the seven tracks I did like these four a bit more than the others - 'Human Murmuration', 'Remote Tumor Seeker', 'Relentless Mutation' and 'Calamus Will Animate'

'Archspire' have created not only one of the best albums of '17 but also one of the most memorable tech-death albums in the last few years. These guys are one of the best if not the best modern technical death metal has to offer, by far.

Overall Score -
9 out of 10.

If you want other reviews please do check out my blog of "Reviews & Stuff" and leave your comments -

Archspire - Relentless Mutation - 100%

Orbitball, April 29th, 2018

The first time I heard this album was on Spotify I think it was last year. I didn't think much of it, but I gave it a few more listens to then decided to buy a physical copy. It was really worth it, as well as their predecessor, 'The Lucid Collective' (2014), which wasn't as well reviewed as their latest. I can hear why, it was a little bit all over the place of an album, which is typical with a technical death metal act. But! Their latest takes more of a liking from me not because of the production, but because of the music. Yes, it does keep your head spinning with those whirlpool guitar frenzies. I didn't really dislike anything from this release. I thought it stronger than the former album, so let's break it down here...

Being a former guitarist, you tend to pay more attention to what are coming out of the amplifiers than anything else. However, their has to be likable vocals and production as well. The lyrical concepts of these types of bands mostly focus on negative things, so it's best to focus on the music. They are (I think) playing some maybe 7-string guitars, but I'm not firm on making that assessment. However, the riffs just blow you away and the music is a total liking to. They seem to blend in some jazz into slow parts, which is surprising for a death metal band.

A lot of people found Oli Peters (vocals) to be annoying, but I actually find him to blend well in the release. They're not playing fast ALL THE TIME and the vocals are at times though really damn fast grunting. The guitarists (Tobi Morelli and Dean Lamb), seem to know how to kill it from their perspective. Really well rounded musicians. It's hard to keep up with everything that's going on. 30 minutes of technical death metal frenzy. Just realize that they're going to knock you on your ass if you see them live.

What's not to like about 'Relentless Mutilation' is the question? They blend a bit of everything here, style, non-conformity, unique sound, and a passion for greatness. These guys seem to be pretty down to Earth as well if you take a listen to some of their interviews.

It's hard to pick one or two songs out of the whole album that's going to hit home, except for the whole album itself. However, check out "Involuntary Doppelganger", the title track and "The Mimic Well" for starters. This album is available on Spotify as I've said same with the second album. Get both to make your determination. 'Relentless Mutation' slaughters from every different avenue!! Pick it up, today!

#inspire - 83%

caspian, March 19th, 2018

One thing I rather like about Archspire is that you know about 15 seconds exactly what the whole album is gonna sound like. You could pretty much write a review based solely on the first tune and it would be entirely accurate..

Luckily it's a pretty enjoyable album that embraces excess as hard as possible, still manages to riff and manages to just transcend the really annoying vocals. I get that having a vocalist is kinda important for putting the occasional exclamation mark on the whole thing, but most of it is a near on breathless, relentless bunch of vocals that detract us from the guitars, which are without doubt the main attraction here.

They're good guitars too, man they're good. They actually riff fairly hard, for one thing; Remote Tumour Seeker is, by modern tech death standards a super hard track, while the title track moves nicely between mellow jazzy noodling and some fairly nice, well I'm not entirely sure what you'd call it, but it's basically some fairly traditional sweeping but a good deal heavier than what you'd expect.

The key thing here for Archspire I reckon is that in many ways they're just a normalish band that's sped up a fair bit. Or if you want to put it another way, they're pretty accessible. You've got tunes like The Mimic Well for example, with a super well executed breakdown- I mean this in the old sense, it's not just hammering on an opening string- smashing through everything around the 1:30 mark, and it's respectably heavy while still tech'ing fairly hard. Look, i'm a tech death pleb, but it's basically like if, say, Spawn of Possession spent a good deal more time writing riffs instead of practicing their noodles.

One final thing to touch on is the production, which isn't light years away from what you'd expect- very clean, triggers for days- but it still manages to have a surprising amount of heft, especially when the band play more conventional tunes. The never ending vocals are mixed slightly beneath the guitars, which is in every way a good thing. I'm on my fifth listen to the album now, and while the vocals are still rather annoying, they get increasingly easy to tune out every listen.

I don't normally listen to tech death, and i very rarely enjoy it, which speaks to how good this album nails the good parts of the genre, and how well it avoids the usual pitfalls of the sound. I imagine most dudes into the genre already have it, but even if slower stuff is your thing, well, try it out eh. You'll be nicely surprised.

Pounding, pummeling, and punishing tech death - 96%

Mailman__, March 6th, 2018

I previously reviewed this album back when it came out, but I didn't really listen to it then.  I had listened to it twice before then, once while playing ping pong with my friends, and the other while writing the review.  So I really only listened to it once.  Since then, I have purchased the album and found that it is among my favorite albums of 2017 (whereas in my review I stated that it wasn't that great, giving it an 80 percent).

This is my favorite Archspire album to date.  "All Shall Align" had two good tracks: "Deathless Ringing" and the title track.  The rest of it was pretty much garbage.  "The Lucid Collective" was better, but nowhere near "Relentless Mutation."  Their 2017 album shows the band fully maturing without sacrificing their original, hyperactive and untimely precise sound.  In other words, "Relentless Mutation" is an album that any kid with ADHD (in other words, me) will absolutely enjoy.  I've listened to this so many times since I purchased it back in November that the CD might even show signs of wear.

So the music is fast and relentless, but it's not brutal.  This isn't a bad thing, I'm just trying to describe it.  The guitar is fast beyond belief and the drums just rail on the snare without stop and with inhuman precision.  Like I said in parts I and II of this review, Archspire requires good production.  Fortunately, they've got it this time.  Wow, this  is great production.  I can hear every individual note, and the notes are all distinguishable, not running into each other, yet still inhumanely fast.

Like their earlier albums, this one is fast and relentless and all that stuff, but there's something very different.  The production is different, yes, but there's something else.  Oh, yeah, it's actually organized.  Just listen to "Involuntary Döppelganger" and you'll see what I mean.  There's this part where the song slows down to this mid-paced groove-soaked section.  Old Archspire would do it like this: stop fast music, wait a beat, play slow section, but new Archspire does this weird thing called a transition.  I know, it's pretty crazy.  This album was clearly pretty thought out and took a lot to write.  It's a huge step up from their debut and sophomore efforts.

Other than the production and organization improvements, there's not much to look at on this album.  I mean the riffs are great and somewhat memorable, but Archspire achieved that goal on their previous album.  Although I am unhappy with its length, being their shortest album to date, I understand that this is a concept album and that it just took a very short amount of time to tell the story.  In the case of a concept album, album length is out of the question, so I think that this album is pretty flawless.  I mean it's got everything I was hoping to hear from Archspire after the potential their first two albums built up.

"Relentless Mutation" is a true testament to Archspire reaching their maximum potential.  I hope they release a fourth album, but topping this one will be tricky.  Nonetheless, I look forward to that day.

Overall Rating: 96%

Originally written for

Fast talkin' - 90%

MikeyC, February 9th, 2018

Since they first dropped their debut album All Shall Align, Archspire have been hell-bent on creating some of the fastest technical death metal this side of Origin. While I believe firmly that they achieved that on their last album The Lucid Collective, it wasn’t until they released this one that the band had finally gained some extra attention. It’s actually totally warranted, too, as their third effort Relentless Mutation contains some of their strongest material to date.

The first song and what will likely be a crowd favourite at shows, “Involuntary Doppelganger,” introduces the idea of what this album is all about. Before you can settle in, you’re bombarded with what might be the fastest vocal delivery in death metal up to now. Oli Peters really goes all out with his vocals on this release, expanding on what he was doing on the previous two albums, and dictates at velocities that would humiliate a hurtling comet. While this happens all over the album, the two songs that really test his speed, and the listener’s comprehension, are the previously mentioned “Involuntary Doppelganger,” and “Calamus Will Animate.” The former is just a total barrage of vocal lines, coming at you from all directions, and frying your brain with endless words and syllables. The latter is more a controlled machine gun (literally) – a constant, automatic stream of consciousness that really takes some lung control to pull off correctly. Both songs perfectly encapsulate the talent of Peters here, and, while unrelenting vocal lines seem downright silly and gimmicky, I assure you that Archspire are not a gimmick. Even when the vocals are their own riff in “Human Murmuration,” which just happens to be my favourite song here, they are integrated in such a way to make them work for the band and take their unique talents beyond a mere gimmick.

More to that point, the vocals would be less important if the lyrics were amateurish, but that is another aspect of the band that has taken a giant leap. Not one single curse word is uttered throughout the album, and the lyrics deal with something called the A.U.M. and their “drip” which is actually a fascinating read if you want to read the booklet. This type of sci-fi concept is perfect for Archspire, and they clearly put a lot of thought into their themes.

Beyond the vocals and lyrics, the music itself is still top-notch, and totally what you would expect from a band like this who try to defy the limits of human speed. This defiance is mostly shown in the drumming, with alternating hand-blasts and the wave after wave of double kicking bursts. It creates the perfect backdrop to the music and even gets some time to properly shine in “Relentless Mutation.” The bigger star of the show here, though, is the guitar work. Sweeping and soloing to their heart’s content. But even though the guitars are designed for speed and heaviness, they aren’t afraid to have a melodic edge, shown in some of the melody-infused riffs of “A Dark Horizontal” and “The Mimic Well,” plus the atmospheric sections to break up their riff and drum attack, for example “Involuntary Doppelganger” and “The Mimic Well.” The bass guitar, while sometimes getting lost in the melee, does get chances to come up and show that he can also bust out some riffs on his own.

It may seem that Relentless Mutation is nothing more than just a whirlwind of notes and beats that make no sense, but despite their speed, there’s actually plenty to catch on to, and the music is created in such a way that there’s time to still get your bearings. The vocal break in “Human Murmuration,” the second half of “Remote Tumour Seeker,” the melodic closing of “The Mimic Well” are but a few examples of Archspire knowing what the music needs and making sure that they don’t get too ahead of themselves when speed is the name of the game. This forethought is a big reason why this album work so well. It’s not just half an hour of blur – there’s a clear and direct path to this madness, and they have created seven songs worth of clarity to what they wanted to achieve. Speediness with catchiness.

Relentless Mutation is not perfect by any means. “The Mimic Well” is probably the weakest song here, and I thought they could’ve reduced the number of clean guitar sections in an album that barely cracks 30 minutes. However, I can’t deny that there is a lot to like here, and this band is rightfully leading the pack and can have a very bright future if they stick to their guns. The vocals are the focal point here, but the whole package works really well and is absolutely worth listening to if you’re a fan of this type of hyperblasting sonic madness.

More production value; Plays more by the book - 81%

MrMetalpants, November 9th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Season of Mist

Archspire's third release offers a more polished release than before. You can definitely feel the production value on this in the crisp recording and the great eq, but the downside is that the band seems to be playing by the rules a little bit here. There's still their extremely distinguishable sound on every single track, but they reign it in a little bit. Some may call this a maturation, and I agree with half of that.

I was trying to decide what is the instrument that really defines this album, and by extension, this band. At first glance I thought the vocals were the one, but if you do a listen through of only the vocals, you start to realize that it is unique but could be on plenty of lesser "core" albums and not miss a beat. The vocals are very impressive and even outpace plenty of Corpsegrinder's recordings (Easily surpasses his live vocals. This band's lead singer is aces live.) Next I tuned into the guitar work. Now it's saying a lot that the very impressive guitar work is the weakest link in curating their style. The riffs are chunky and heavy in parts, blistering in others, and can be quite acrobatic. That's the rhythm guitar. The lead guitar is not as technical as they come by any means. They keep the noodles to a minimum and feed you solid protein in the way of tasty licks and cascading progressions that stick with you. Once I had arrived at the drum listen-through, I had found it. The drums are what make this band. Listen to 02:15 on "Human Murmuration" or the light sections on "relentless Mutation" (specifically the use of quadruplets there). Everything about the drums are magnificent. The speed, technicality, and unique snare play. My second to final listen-through was devoted to the bass. Not many albums can you be fully entertained with the bass alone. Not only does it soar high above the guitars in many spots, the follows the guitars wherever they may roam and does so with flair.

Overall, Relentless Mutation is a very solid release, though not reaching the heights reached on their other albums. The only annoying part (and very annoying at that) is the beginning to "Calamus Will Animate". That part really annoyed me to no end. Other than that part, the album never reaches any lows; It just sort of plateaus on a handful of occasions, like on "Remote Tumor Seeker". That is the only song I really didn't like. It's not bad, just nothing really clicked with me other than the odd emphasis placements when he sings the title words. If this is your first endeavor of the band, be warned that there are many death core elements, but they never harm the song in any way (Except for maybe one almost-pig-squeal). They are a band in the top of their class, along with Rings of Saturn, and hopefully can keep releasing such solid material. Also, it's another quite short album, which has been a pattern in 2017. Quality over quantity here.

Favorite Tracks:
--Human Murmuration (It gets amazing halfway through)
--Relentless Mutation
--Involuntary Doppelganger
--A Dark Horizontal

Technical Skill: 92% Originality: 87% Song writing: 68% Album structure: 76%
(11/01/2017 Edit)

Spawn of Possession on crack and meth - 94%

Murauder, October 20th, 2017

Despite having seen Archpire live on multiple occasions, nothing really particularly stuck out about then. They just seemed like another "wank-metal" band from Canada. It wasn't until teasers for this album started coming out that I realized I was looking at a band that is, in my opinion, at the tip of the spear of modern technical death metal. "Involuntary Doppelganger" was my first experience with this album and I did not anticipate that each and every song on 'Relentless Mutation' would be of the same high caliber. To those familiar with Spawn Of Possession, specifically the 'Incurso' album, you will see a lot of similarities between that album and 'Relentless Mutation', except it's 50x faster, 10x more intense, and 2x shorter in length.

I believe the biggest problem with most modern technical death metal is that there is little to no cohesion or structure to the music; its often thrown away as a means of jamming even more pointless technicality into an already excessively technical song. With this album, Archspire managed to play right on that line of senseless technicality and structural cohesion. Multiple songs on this album contain 'choruses', and by that I mean sections that actually repeat and give you a sense that you're actually listening to a well-thought out composition (e.g. Calamus Will Animate, Relentless Mutation). The track list is also perfectly ordered so that each song flows into the next, as it should be. Furthermore, each song on this album is notably unique despite employing almost identical playing styles in each. "Relentless Mutation", the title track, as well as "A Dark Horizontal" are prime examples of this unexpected variety. It is one of the few technical death metal albums where the listener can actually recall which song was which after listening to it once or twice. Finally, the album is surprisingly melodic, which is yet another component which is often omitted in tech death releases. There are many passages throughout the album which are simply beautiful, for lack of a better term.

The musicianship on this album is absolutely incredible and it helps that it can actually be heard in the mix. Its impossible to write this without sounding cliche, but the guitarists and bassists truly take technical playing to a whole new level. The sheer speed, precision, and creativity of their riffs in literally every song is undeniably jaw dropping. Likewise the drummer, Spencer Prewett, once again proves that he has the stamina of an African long distance runner. This brings me to why I did not give this album a higher score: the vocalist. Oli Peters is an excellent writer and a cool cat to hang out with, but his vocal performance on this album is on the same level of comprehensibility as Sean Beasley of Dying Fetus. I understand that he is quite passionate about his tech death rap style but it would really be nice if there would be some semblance of articulation in his raspy growling. This is just my own personal objection; I'm just glad he's not as bad as Matt McGachy from Cryptopsy. For what it's worth, Oli Peters' raspy growls were right on point, carefully placed and perfectly executed throughout all the tracks of this excellent album, despite not being able to tell what the hell he's on about.

Relentlessly Mutating - 93%

Evokaphile, September 23rd, 2017

I first discovered Archspire’s inhuman brand of technical death metal at the impressionable age of seventeen when their 2011 debut album All Shall Align somehow landed in my crosshairs despite their essentially unknown status at the time. Fast forward to 2017 and not only has the band’s fan base grown exponentially since, but my infatuation with the genre as whole has gradually waned to the point of tedium. No longer do I find myself thrilled with arpeggiated finger blasting exercises ran through a baker’s dozen worth of computer programs, and on the whole I’ve been tired of the tick-for-tack interchangeability of such a homogenized, uncharismatic genre for a long time. That said, I recognize merit when I see it, and Archspire’s third full-length is full of it. Thanks to significantly more interesting compositions and a production job that finally does them justice, this Canadian tech death outfit has once again successfully rekindled some hope in my weary heart. To be perfectly honest, I had almost forgotten how thrilling getting blasted by music paced at 300,000bpm could be, especially when it’s played with the kind of precision these guys are known for brandishing. Indeed, Relentless Mutation is a wholesale improvement on every aspect of their sound, and it does a fine job at mitigating the nagging issues found on their previous works all the while making strides towards becoming more than a death metal gymnastics act.

At its core, Relentless Mutuation is an album of millisecond snapshots capturing a totalitarian virtuosity built to thrill and destroy anything within earshot, and in this regard it accomplishes its goals and then some. Their trademark speed and laser-like precision has only become more perplexing and urgently paced, once again setting the band atop the heaping mountain of speed demons deadest on surmounting some unspoken world record for the fastest band on earth. Such a development of course is a rather natural expectation, but where Archspire have really managed to raise eyebrows is in the songwriting department. Everything, I mean everything is tightened up this time around. On previous efforts there was an underlying sense of limitation ever present among the string section which offered up a proper knuckle-dusting that impressed at first glance but ultimately remained comfortably nestled within the scope of a handful of industry standard scales and chord progressions. Thankfully, the time between releases has been well spent on maturing from a musical standpoint, and it's clear the band has refused to settle on past laurels with a strikingly more diverse platter of synapse-cooking riffs and increasingly nuanced song structures for aficionados to sink their teeth into.

One could name-drop any track here to justify the aforementioned point (Human Murmation anyone?), but frankly nary a moment passes where the entire band doesn’t completely outshine their former selves. 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 heartstopping fills and syncopated cymbal work sounds like a cliché 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 annunciative 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 dénouements 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.

Nonetheless, all this starry-eyed showmanship could very well end up leaving a somewhat purposeless and hackneyed impression were it not for Oli Peters. Being very likely the only vocalist in death metal that could ever hope to keep pace with the rest of the band, his trademarked brand of multi-syllabic superhumanly fast death rap is one of the most unique voices in the industry. The man literally - for lack of a better word - spits out vitriolic screams like a demented rapper and quite frankly rivals some of the quickest rhymesayers in hip-hop in the process. We’re not talking tripe schemes of flexing verbosity here either. Oli essentially recites cerebral short stories at the speed of sound, locking his voice into the rapid movements of the instruments as if he were an extension of their logarithmic architecture. Sure, you can argue that he’s always been ahead of the curve as far as tech death vocalists are concerned, but this time around his work is dialed-in to a point of insanity that really needs to be heard to be believed. His performance is genuinely flabbergasting even at first glance, but it likely won't reveal it’s lasting charm until you’ve been on a few dates with the album, by which point moments like the chorus on “Remote Tumor Seeker” or the schizophrenic scattershot of “Calamus Will Animate” begin to worm their way into your subconscious mind.

Thirty minutes is all it takes when you travel at this velocity, and despite its short length, Relentless Mutation manages to pack a discography worth of mind blowing moments into its tight knit clusterbomb of sheer technical prowess. This is an album that’s perpetually over-the-top, but nonetheless remains well poised thanks to a virtuosic performance on all ends that unifies in a molecularly perfect fashion. Playing as true unit, each member seems ceaselessly aware of the whole picture – something that has launched them into the territory of death metal legends – and has graced them with the ability to craft something no other band could. With their third full-length proper, Archspire have finally put all the pieces together, and have taken massive strides forward in terms of both ambition and execution as they continue to carve an identity completely their own. Simply put, this is the Archspire album weary enthusiasts have been waiting for.

(Originally published on