Tech Death Thursday: Deceptionist
Deceptionist are afraid of robots, and they want you to know about it. It’s Tech Death Thursday.
Firstly, some newsly bits:
- Ne Obliviscaris/Vipassi bassist Cygnus has (another) tech death side project, Infinite Density, also featuring Ben Boyle of Hadal Maw. It sounds quite a bit different from either of the aforementioned bands, so even if you’re not a fan of them, I recommend giving this a listen. Check out “Infinite Rebirth” and look for Recollapse of the Universe on July 29th.
- Astral Path (not to be confused with the similarly-named black metal project Astral Path) have debuted a single from their upcoming album Ashes Dancer. It’s already sounding strong, with a lot of emphasis on melody and emotion. Ashes Dancer is out July 29th.
- If you were looking for an excuse to revisit Akroasis, Obscura has just released a video for “Ten Sepiroth.” It’s nothing special- just another performance video- but damn, what a song.
- I’m not entirely sure what a Centaurus-A is, but if “Down the Drain” is any indication, it has anger management issues. Fortunately, that lends itself pretty well to tech death; this song rips. Look for Means of Escape sometime in the near future.
- Orphalis still doesn’t sound like any of the bands their label claims they resemble, but this new single is still awesome. Check out “Encased in a Higher Intellect” for some nasty riffage.
- I know this was mentioned in a prior article, but it bears repeating that BRAIN DRILL BRAIN DRILL BRAIN DRILL BRAIN DRILL BRAIN DRILL BRAIN DRILL
“Mechanical” is a dirty word in the musical world, a vile insult reserved for the most sterile and soulless of songs. It’s not something to strive for, either in terms of production or in playing. At best, it saps the music of its impact; at worst, it implies the musician can’t actually play their material. Even bands like The Zenith Passage, who I believe were able to spin their robotic sound to their advantage, get by primarily on the creativity of their compositions. They pepper their music with moments of humanity, giving those small sections that much more impact.
So what, then, is the explanation for Initializing Irreversible Process? This has to be one of the most painfully mechanical-sounding albums I have ever heard, and my love of robotic music is pretty well–documented at this point. I’m not speaking solely about the production, either; I can stomach overrefined engineering without issue. The real problem here is with the music itself. It all feels like it was churned out by a factory somewhere, each song built with a mold and checked for defects before shipping out. I’m not exaggerating; the first six songs would be indistinguishable from one another if they didn’t all- literally all- fade out in the same way at the end. I actually lost place during my first listen when I stopped the album without checking which song I was on and was unable to determine where I was by listening to bits of each track, forcing me to start again from the beginning. There’s not even a variation in tempo until the end of track six, and even then it’s just half-time from everything leading up to it. It mercifully changes things up for a bit after that with a triplet-feel song and a couple more tunes that explore the mid to high ranges of the guitar, whereas the former half focuses almost solely on the lower end of the instrument.
Is this all supposed to be a statement? A greater theme of the album? If so, I find that incredibly ironic- even hypocritical- given Deceptionist’s vehemently anti-transhumanist (and unintentionally hilarious) lyrics. You can’t be expected to be taken seriously when you write an entire album focusing on the dangers of technology and loss of humanity, then compress and quantize everything to kingdom fuck. Perhaps it’s just too late, and Deceptionist have fallen prey to the very technological singularity they were trying to warn us about.
If there’s one thing the band has mastered, it’s the art of the rest. Silence is underutilized in the world of tech death (with the sole exception of Gorod), save for the occasional breakdown or clean guitar interlude. Sure, a lot of the riffs feel like recycled versions of each other, but when those breaks hit, they hit hard. They lose their impact after you’ve heard them for the five-hundredth time, but it’s fun while it lasts. The best moment on the album doesn’t come until the very end, however; closing track “Operator Nr 3” is leagues ahead of the rest in terms of songwriting and closes with an immensely satisfying guitar duel. Moreover, it goes to show that had they mixed things up a little more, this could have been a much better album.
Initializing Irreversible Process isn’t a complete dud, but it’s far from perfect. There are some solid moments, but even at just over 30 minutes long, it feels bloated with copy-pasted riffs. The production is as stale as the songwriting, completely subverting the message the band is trying to get across. There’s about half a good album here, and for that I give it:
2.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Deceptionist can be found on Facebook and Bandcamp. Initializing Irreversible Process is out now on Unique Leader. That’s all for this week; until next time,
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