Protosequence – Bestiary (Lacerated Enemy Records)

Wednesday, 3rd April 2024
Rating: 8 / 10

Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta in Canada, Protosequence is a quartet originally hitting the scene in 2014, releasing a series of singles and EPs over that time to finally reach a debut full-length for Bestiary. Although not familiar with previous discography, Katarina gave the 2017 EP Biophagous kudos in the August 2017 Rapid Fire column for their modern approach to deathcore/djent meets technical/ atmospheric death metal sound. Many years later, it appears that the band has embraced more of the technical death metal side of things, while not forsaking the deathcore or twisted transitional sides that make these seven songs quite alluring.

The combination of intense musically sophisticated passages next to sections that are relatively calm enhance the appeal for each individual track – as you never know what to expect next, while also not feeling too bogged down by the information that takes time to digest. Occasionally the rhythm roar matches the jackhammer riffs, only to go into a subsequent aural reprieve where bassist Jacob Teeple throws in some free-flowing lead parts before the savage brutality reemerges – and that’s all within the opener “Sam”. Technical passages of blitzkrieg run rampant through the hands of Dylan Parker – in conjunction to the insane blasting plus octopus-oriented tempo juxtapositions drummer Logan Vars implements, making for plenty of jaw-dropping action within tracks like “Baroness Part 2” and “Neither Fair Not Equal”. Add in the fierce roars plus blood curdling growls to scream delivery within the multifaceted approach from vocalist Josh Hahn (supplemented by guitarist Dylan) and its readily apparent how these gentlemen straddle the lines between technical prowess and slamming, groove-accented death metal that possesses modern deathcore/djent elements within the mix.

The ethereal cover art provides contrast to what Protosequence exemplify in Bestiary – which in turn should hopefully gain a lot of fringe followers who choose to understand that there’s strong possibilities for memorable hooks even in a virtuoso style as technical death metal can be. If you love the catalogs of Cryptopsy, Archspire and Cephalic Carnage, this would be in your ideal wheelhouse.

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