Archspire – The Lucid Collective (Season of Mist)

Sunday, 18th May 2014
Rating: 8/10

Straight to carpal tunnel-ville goes Vancouver’s Archspire, who are one of those “play technical first, ask questions later” bands. It’s either feast or famine with groups of this ilk; some couldn’t piece a song together with duct tape, while others prove to adept in cajoling their highly-advanced playing into something resembling actual songs. Archspire manage to fit that bill, ably slaughtering their instruments in a death metal firestorm on their sophomore effort, The Lucid Collective.

Predictably, Origin, the melodic sparring of Obscura, along with most of the Unique Leader Records roster comes to mind when making attempts at properly describing Archspire’s sound. The punctuated guitar runs found on opener “Lucid Collective Somnambulation” is perhaps the first indication the band has an idea how to piece together a song, where upon said run serves as the song’s memorable sign-post. The syncopated guitar/drum dueling found on “Scream Feeding” has some teeth, while “Seven Crowns and the Oblivion” is probably the biggest technical envelope-pusher, especially since vocalist Oli Peters is left cram in as many syllables as humanly possible. Either way, the band can regularly be found testing the limits of their dexterity and musical affluence, so much so that you have to wonder if they can go above and beyond next album…

For now, The Lucid Collective has some serious traction, whether it’s found on the aforementioned tunes, or “Spontaneous Generation,” which takes come cool cues from Decapitated while introducing some rather fluid lead work. Even if this sort of thing needs to be taken with small doses (as in, you can’t listen to this all the time), the fact Archspire knows their way around a tune and don’t abandon the primary principles of brutal death metal speaks volumes. A band to watch for.

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