Archspire – Bleed the Future (Season of Mist)

Monday, 25th October 2021
Rating: 9/10

Tech death over the years has become something of a farce in some ways.  So many bands spend all of their time and effort to try to one-up each other with technical ability and inhuman speed, that we are left with something that comes across as only cold and bland.  While Archspire has been one of the flagbearers for intense speeds, they have also really wised up as they have continued to progress with each album, increasing the dynamics and making sure that the music still hits as hard as death metal should and pops with some melody, all while still making your head explode from their combination of intricacy and blazing speed.

Without question, Bleed the Future sits as the band’s finest achievement to date.  They can still find ways to keep the speed at absolutely head-scratching levels, yet the listener is never fatigued or bored.  You can really hear the melodies shine through even the most high-tempo acrobatics, and most importantly, they have become much more adept at knowing when to hit the brakes and dish out a little groove as well.  “Golden Mouth of Ruin” demonstrates exactly what is right about the band’s approach, offering up some sections of slower and more pulverizing groove to taper the incredibly quick speed runs (both musically and vocally) to provide an excellent balance of brutality and musicianship.  This is par for the course along the entirety of the album, with short 3-4 minute cuts knowing exactly how to get in and get out with plenty of flash but not become overbearing.  The title track is also a fine example, bringing us some massive mid-tempo stomping, clean guitar, and explosive speed bursts that hit at just the right precise moments.  “Drain of Incarnation” creates a battering ram of drumming intensity, but flowing leads give it an elegant grace that tech bands often ignore.

It’s all about walking the fine line between technical wizardry and creating vibrant yet visceral death metal intensity, and Archspire has reached their most masterful point so far.  Bleed the Future has the mindblowing tech that you crave, yet you’ll be fresh and ready to go for a second round as it finishes due to the incredible level of polish and dynamic that they have added to it.

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