Tech Death Thursday: Summer EP Roundup
There’s a ton of great music coming out this summer, and tech death is no exception. We’re checking out three sweet new EP’s of wildly different flavors.
First up today is The Scryer, the forthcoming EP from prog-death outfit Æpoch. Their previous effort, Awakening Inception, was a standout album of 2018, taking a more down-to-earth approach to progressive death metal than you typically hear. It’s smart without being sterile; while the music is complex, it’s still clearly made for headbanging. There’s a lot of genre cross-pollination, too, drawing from thrash and melodic black metal and bringing it all together in a way that’s palatable even to people who aren’t spinning tech 24/7.
I’m pleased to report that The Scryer maintains both that level of proficiency and is probably even easier to delve into than its predecessor, being both shorter and more straightforward. “Devil Twin Part I” starts the album off with some spooky acoustic guitar that reeks of Thulcandra, exploding into its equally black metal-tinged sequel shortly after. “The Scryer,” “Ozonihilation,” and “A Brainwashed Civilization” all cut closer to the sound present on Awakening Inception, that smart but not over-the-top prog death sound, of which “Ozonihilation” is particularly exemplary with its furious guitar work. However, the real standout track here is “Shrapnel Baptized,” which hits you with a solid eight and a half minutes of intense death thrash, coming at you with solos left, right, and center on every instrument (including a guest spot from Layne Richardson of Becomes Astral). All told, this is a gratifying listen that I imagine is going to appeal to a pretty broad spectrum of people into extreme metal. Even if prog/tech death isn’t your thing, you’ll want to check this one out.
The Scryer is out on July 31st.
Indepth, an oddly-monikered quartet from Mexico, is our second act of the day, coming in with their new EP Inheritor. This one is probably more in line with what you’d expect when I refer to “prog death,” stuff akin to Beyond Creation and Contrarian and the like. Not quite the indecipherable artsy-fartsy death metal that lurks at the periphery of the very concept of music, but certainly dense and complex. Oh, and there’s some very forward fretless bass, because it’s illegal to play this style of music without it.
Jokes aside, this is a great little album, showcasing an impressive range across its four tracks (including a phenomenal cover of “Sirius/Eye in the Sky” by The Alan Parsons Project). Each song gives you a glimpse of a different side of the band: the title track plays that aforementioned style of prog death replete with fifths harmonies and big chords, whereas opener “Contradictions” dances that familiar but oh-so-satisfying spider dance of bands like First Fragment. “Ghost,” for its part, is much more reserved and introspective, both melancholy and fierce in its mixture of low-end tremolo riffs and ethereal lead work. It all stems from the same core sound, though, so while the vibe of each song is very distinct, it’s a cohesive listen regardless. And hey, if these four tracks aren’t enough for you, they put out a full-length last year as well.
Inheritor is out now.
Now, for all you big tech boys out there, we have the newest from Serocs, which… honestly, if you’re a regular tech death listener, you’ve probably heard already. Serocs have made a name for themselves over the years on fast, monstrous riffs; think Cryptopsy in double time with a dash of Spawn of Possession and the occasional face-melting solo. Again, you probably already know all this, but if you’re the type of person who needs your opinions validated in writing from a semi-official source, I got you: Vore is really fucking good.
I personally would have been happy if Serocs had just delivered something that was “more Serocs,” but they went above and beyond here for two reasons. First, and perhaps most importantly, the songs just stick better. One of the common criticisms of this type of hyper tech is that however enjoyable the music might be in the moment, it’s not memorable. To that end, the songs on Vore groove harder and have more distinct melodies, even at its fastest. This is partly owed to the second point as well- they slow the fuck down. “Shallow Vaults,” “The Temple of Knowledge,” and “To Self Devour” deviate not only in tempo, but in atmosphere, creating a haunting otherworldliness that’s a perfect complement to the ferocity of the first half of the album. I love the duality of this album, and I hope the band decides to explore this sound further in future efforts.
Vore is out now on Everlasting Spew (may they spew forever).