What a year for tech/prog death! Not that many high-profile records, but tons of very interesting and charming underground acts! Let’s go!
Persefone – Aathma
One of the absolute highlights of the whole year. Stellar, coherent songwriting and an interesting lyrical concept, combined with outstanding musicianship, finished off with a nice, organic production truly makes Aathma one of the greatest progressive (death) metal records of this decade. It’s hard to describe Persefone’s epicness, just take some time to check it out, you won’t regret it!
Archspire – Relentless Mutation
Archspire is known for having A LOT of notes and they delivered exactly that on Relentless Mutation; the whole band (including the singer, whose speed is literally beyond my comprehension) seems to be challenging each other to see who plays the fastest. No song goes without riffs that other bands would use as main guitar solos, and the drums sound more like gunshots than actual drums. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but still incredibly fun to listen to.
Dark Matter Secret – Perfect World Creation
Instrumental tech-death insanity. While they are teetering on the edge of overdoing it, Dark Matter Secret still managed to create a blend of music that is full of mind-bending guitar parts, mixed with occasionally pretty catchy lead guitars and atmospheric interludes that make for a very interesting journey throughout the whole record. Definitely recommended.
Decapitated – Anticult
Polish tech death stalwarts released one of the most economical records of the year: Anticult simply refuses to waste time. Bigger riffs emerge on this album, and where there would once be flashy fretboard gymnastics, there is now groove. I dare you to listen to “Earth Scar” and not pump your first.
Inanimate Existence – Underneath A Melting Sky
If you like your tech death with a dash of mid-tempo prog sensibility sprinkled in, then Underneath A Melting Sky is the record for you. Moments of furious growling, double bass, and crunchy guitar are broken up by spacious riffs, and the record is better for it. Inanimate Existence knows how to compose.
The Kennedy Veil – Imperium
Monte Barnard is one of the best vocalists in death metal and The Kennedy Veil use this to their full advantage. The vocal mix is fantastic, the lyrics menacing, and songwriting is consistently interesting. Blistering technical moments are balanced by orchestration bestowing this record with an inescapably evil atmosphere.
Ne Obliviscaris – Urn
While the compositional prowess of NeO may have been scaled back a bit on this record, the full force of six of the most talented musicians on the planet was anything but subdued. New classics like the title track and “Intra Venus” show that the band can dazzle us any way they see fit.
Sutrah – Dunes
Sometimes the intersection of prog and tech can feel imbalanced, but Sutrah didn’t let that worry them. Dunes is one is one of those rare albums that shines just as brightly in the quieter moments as it does when the technical prowess is center stage. Fantastic production, powerful vocals, and top-tier composition make this a must listen.
Replacire – Do Not Deviate
Tech death is full of overproduced, clean production, and Replacire’s meaty, thick, and old school-like sound is one reason why I like this album so much. Do Not Deviate is techy and complex, but it’s first and foremost a crushingly heavy and filthy death metal record. And that’s awesome.
Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
There is a certain avantgarde factor surrounding this record, which makes it incredibly compelling. Artificial Brain hinted what they are capable of with Labyrinth Constellation, but they reached new highs with Infrared Horizon. Astoundingly dense and heavy, this is a must have for every tech death fans. The atmosphere is one of a kind.
John Frum – A Stirring In The Noos
This is my kind of supergroup. Member of amazing bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Bereft, ex-The Faceless, Cleric and much more came together and shape a filthy bastard out of tech death, experimental, and psychedelic elements. All you can do is sit back and channel your inner demon, desperate for more!
Redemptor – Arthaneum
Maybe one of the most underrated tech death releases in 2017. Redemptor from Poland created an epic, melodic, but hauntingly dark reality with razor-sharp riffs and your typical “dark and snowy Polish forest in which you encounter some corpse painted fellas”. A really fascinating record, with superb songwriting.
Hadal Maw – Olm
Onró – Múto
Abhorrent Decimation – The Pardoner
Comorant – Diaspora
Hideous Divinity – Advenies
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