Tech Death Thursday: Techsmas 2018


Christmas comes early this week; I’ve got three albums from December for you here today, courtesy of OakhaartCerebrum, and Deadborn.

A couple bits of news first:

  • In case you missed it, we’ve got a new track from A Novelist streaming right here for your listening pleasure. Preorders are live now, too; I know you’ve only got one song to listen to right now, but trust me when I say you don’t want to miss out on this album.
  • Subnuba have a spacey new tune up as well, and I’m digging what I hear. It fits the paradigm of other interstellar-themed tech death albums, but with its own fairly distinct flavor. Check out Distant Pixels when it hits next Friday, December 28th.
  • Big brain prog bois Fractal Universe just got picked up by Metal Blade (which is rad), and they’ve got a new album on the way for spring of next year (which is even more rad). If you’re not familiar with their previous work, I’ve written about them twice before, so read up and treat yourself to some sweet jams. Or don’t; you don’t have to listen to me, I’m not your dad (probably).
  • Orchid have been quietly teasing a new album for awhile, and now they’ve got two new songs up. “Master Supreme” is a concise number with some weird guitar work, and “Zero-Sum Game” gives you a look at that instrumental magic in action with an accompanying playthrough video. Miasma lands on January 10th.
  • You can always count on Japanese musicians to do some crazy shit, and Desecravity are no exception. Their new single, “Impure Confrontation,” is absolutely bonkers instrumentally while also being substantially more palatable than their last effort. Look for Anathema on January 25th on Willowtip Records.

First on the docket today is Oakhaart, who Hans gave a brief rundown a couple weeks back prior to the release of Parallel to an Endless Dream. I was intrigued by the unique style presented on their first single, “A Godless Vessel,” and the full release delivered on the single’s promise of jaunty jams and then some. Of immediate note are the vocals, which sound to my ears like a midway point between Rody Walker’s crazy range and Jason McMaster’s unhinged performance on the Howling Sycamore record from earlier this year. They certainly stand out from the crowd, and they work very well with the rest of the music, which presents an amalgamation of Gorod and Replacire-style grooves with a bit of the earthy sounds of middle-years Mastodon. It’s a disparate mixture of styles to be sure, but they gel into something wholly unlike anything else, and they do it in an extremely satisfying manner. I’ve had a ton of fun in my time with this album thus far, and I highly recommend prog fans and anyone who likes tech-adjacent music to check this one out.

You know how we’re in the middle of this flood of death metal that sounds old school, but not necessarily like any one specific band from the classic period of the genre? That’s kind of the impression I get from Cerebrum, but with regard to tech death. Iridium absolutely sounds like something that could have originated alongside the likes of Cynic and Death; it carries that same sort of feeling of haphazard experimentation as those bands, but there’s not really a one-to-one comparison to be made with this. And holy shit, is this album monstrous; it’s raw and vicious in ways you don’t really hear from many tech death bands, particularly in the vocals and the bass. The drums and guitars are pleasantly earthy, and the riffs are downright nasty. They’re like… smart caveman riffs. It’s hard to put into words without sounding stupid, but rest assured that if you’re a fan of any sort of death metal (tech or otherwise), then you want to keep Cerebrum on your radar. Check out the full album when it hits tomorrow.

Last up we’ve got Deadborn with their newest album, Dogma Anti God. Now, I know that sounds like some third tier Nergal-aping edgelord nonsense (and it may very well be in terms of lyrics- I didn’t have them on hand for this), but this is musically more akin to Hour of Penance and the like. You know, bands that actually have riffs. Anyway, Deadborn are a little more reigned in than the aforementioned Italian death metallers, focusing less on bludgeoning you with constant speed and aiming for a somewhat more nuanced experience. It’s still a big, angry beast of an album, but the riffs and chord progressions are more complex than a lot of their compatriots. There’s more variety in the song structure, too, which makes it a much more evenly paced listen. It’s not the most cerebral album featured here today, but it’s definitely worth listening if you like your meat and potatoes with a little spice. If nothing else, give “Your Symbol Burns” a listen- it’s a banger for sure.

That’s all I’ve got for you this time; I may or may not be taking next week off for the holidays, so hopefully this is enough to tide you over in the meantime. I also didn’t get any gift receipts for this, so you’re stuck with them. I hope the season is kind to you, and until next time,

Stay Tech

Is your band tech as heck? Got a juicy piece of news or an upcoming release to watch? Send it my way at and I’ll check it out. I might even talk about it.

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