Seriously!  What on earth do they feed them in Canada?  Someone has to find out.  Because that snow bound, hockey loving nation of infinite politeness has produced yet another stupefyingly amazing technical death metal band. 

This time the group in question are Archspire and hail from British Columbia.  They deal in the most extreme, power driven tech-death that one can imagine.  A highly developed sense of song writing underpins some of the most brutal rhythmic and melodic assaults I have heard in a long time. 

To say that Archspire are fast is to be stupidly understated.  They are a bolt of lightning that has somehow been recorded. But this is not say they are without intelligence, subtlety and craft. On the contrary, filigrees of melody appear through the beautiful maze of pronounced brilliance that is their playing; creating songs that are as close to musical fractals as one can imagine. 

7 and 8 stringed guitars being used to their fullest capability.  Arpeggiated sweeps, open phrased passages and delectably brutal riffs seem to spring from a seemingly unending stream of invention.  Veering from moments of swaying playground melody to sections of masterful jazzy complexity.  There is so much Shred on display here, its churlish of me to even attempt to describe its scope.

The bass is of the mellifluous, multi-fingered fret-less kind.  Sinuously engaging and intertwining with the guitar in a seamless ever modulating ball of intent.  Stepping forward with confidence and skill to provide disbelief inducing breaks that catapulted me into paroxysms of ecstasy fuelled laughter.  The searching breadth of his tonal range is an exemplar of just what can be done on the bass.

I’m not sure that drummer Spencer Prewett is actually a human. Instead he might well be the multi-limbed God Shiva sitting in for a session.  As some of his playing, full of elegant separation of notes, had me scratching my head at the sheer creative velocity.  Exquisitely attenuated blasts of all kinds pepper this album.  Sometimes coming across like a machine gun, sometimes like a samba band with homicidal tendencies.  His hands and feet are full of controlled technique and power, joined together in a unity of purpose that is a source of quite limitless joy.  You must understand that I mean joy of the Evil, Brutal and Unrelenting kind.

Now with music this rapid one might expect vocals to be at half speed, but stone me if Oliver Aleron doesn’t sing just as fast!  His main tone is redolent of Dethkloks own Nathan Explosion, but only if you cloned Explosion 3 times and cut various limbs off the clones to enhance their rage. He also utilises both guttural and rasped styles to provide a layered atmosphere and a beguiling sense of unclensable disgust.  Blasting out rapid fire barks one moment and long, deeply dredged brees the next.  It is an incredible performance that will have you holding your breath; struck static in disbelief at how simultaneously exact and monstrous he sounds.  

The production is crystal clear and the mix is dexterous and adept; perfectly emphasising each element within this master-work.  The band employ a dedicated live sound engineer and you can tell it would need a specialist to attain this separation in a live setting.

Archspire seem to be an incredible team.  They shift emphasis across instrumentation with a precise notion of who should be leading the charge and when they should all be assailing you at once. From the first blow to the final bell, there is no let up in either skill nor intention.  

The Lucid Collective is a mind-bending mix of mathcore and tech-death, which will melt your headphones to your skull.  Leaving you breathless and unsure of where you live and what you had for breakfast! 

They achieve feats of speed and stamina that one associates with the very best exponents of TDM.  Full of flourishes of phrase and arrangement that defy the gravity that us regular mortals are prisoner of.  

I Insist you to listen to this album, its like a shaft of brilliant sunlight, illuminating your day. 

I urge you to listen to this album because life is finite and there are some things you absolutely have to do: this is one of them. 

I implore you to listen, gasp in delight and wonder.

Then ponder for me, if you will, because I need an answer. Just what the fuck do they feed them in Canada?

– John Whitmore



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