Tech Death Thursday: Centaurus-A
It’s been approximately ten thousand years since Centaurus-A dropped their last album, but they’re finally back! Brace for unrelenting sack flagellation.
- Obscura has a new song out, and it’s… well, it’s better than the last one. Check out “Emergent Evolution” and look for Diluvium on July 13th.
- In way more interesting Obscura news, they just announced a tour for, uh, sometime. Somewhere. But the lineup is stacked! Inferi, Archspire, Beyond Creation, and Exist will be hitting the road with them whenever that might be. Rest assured either the Stick or I will make you aware of it.
- Exocrine have a sick new prog jam primed and ready for your eager earholes. Molten Giant comes out on August 17th through Unique Leader.
- Following their recent signing, Aethereus have released a substantial teaser for Absentia, and it is HAWT. It sounds like a bit of a departure from their last EP, but in a good way, layering the instruments in complex and fascinating melodies. Look for that on August 10th.
- Sunless just got signed to Willowtip, and having heard some of their new material live, I can personally attest to its raditude.
- Obastra done went and dropped an EP while nobody was looking. A bit different from their last full length, but still good.
If you have been gifted with a sharp memory, you might recall a hot little news item tucked in with a review of an album that kind of sucked from a couple years back that totally stole the show that week. That was our first taste of Means of Escape, the recently released sophomore LP from Centaurus-A. “Down the Drain” showed a ton of promise, but the band went almost completely silent not long after its release. Two years later (to the day!), they’ve returned from the abyss with their album in tow, and we haven’t been made to wait for nothing.
A few bars opening track “Coalescence,” my mind started drawing a lot of comparisons to Deviant Process. They’re similarly aggressive, and while “angry” is hardly a trait exclusive to either of those bands, it’s the way they channel that aggression that makes them stand out. Centaurus-A’s music is structured clearly for the most part in terms of rhythm, but what they do within the confines of traditional time signatures is unpredictable. Their riffs assail you with intricate melodies and splashes of dissonance at an almost oppressive pace set by the sonic waterfall that is the drummer. The occasional break in speed serves only to make the music heavier; it feels like you’re slamming into a brick wall when they slow down so quickly, and they like to pile on the beefy grooves in these parts as well. It’s not all hate all the time- here and there is a nod to Obscura and a wink to Revocation (particularly in the thrashy parts)- but it’s by and large a punishing listen.
As is appropriate, that aggression extends into the performance and engineering job as well. Those palm mutes and kick drum hits feel like punches to the gut, and the bass slices through the mix like a buzzsaw, keeping pace with the rest of the band without breaking a sweat. There’s a raw, hardcore-tinged edge to the vocals that lends itself well to the proceedings. Brought all together, it creates a massive aural beatdown in the best way.
Yet within all the barely contained chaos, there’s one part that stands apart from the bedlam: the guitar solos. The lead guitarist is clearly well versed in the art of shred, but the solos are surprisingly tasteful and oftentimes beautiful. The music tends to take a melodic turn as a lead approaches, and these spots offer pretty much the only true reprieves on the album, weird as that might be. They’re universally great, though, particularly at the end of “Bad to the Bone” (which is thankfully, mercifully, not a George Thorogood cover). Between the triumphant chord progression behind it and the super melodic shred, it hits in almost the same way as BTBAM’s “Selkies,” and that’s a very good thing.
All told, Means of Escape is a fantastic listen that absolutely lived up to my expectations. Creative songwriting, sick solos, and some incredible performances make this one a must-have for fans of tech death. It might even bring in some of the non-tech crowd, too. Pick it up now on Bandcamp, and hit up Centaurus-A on Facebook. That’s all for now, and until next time,
Is your band tech as heck? Got a juicy piece of news or an upcoming release to watch? Send it my way at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll check it out. I might even talk about it.