Profanity – The Art Of Sickness [Germany]
Like Atheist and Death fucking Suffocation in the ear-hole, Germany’s Profanity spanked tech death metal red raw with The Art Of Sickness, their first album in over 17 years! With a progressive thrash flavour spicing up the deathly mayhem, Profanity harnessed the old-school sounds of the aforementioned Atheist and Death and dragged them, kicking and screaming, into the present.
With sublime technical precision, “Who Leaves Stays” particularly boggled the mind, stop-starting more often than a learner driver on a steep hill while throwing in jazzy shapes and bowel-loosening growls to deliver the most varied blast of clinical tech-death imaginable.
Basically, The Art Of Sickness was pure class and you could gorge on this beast for days and never tire of it. The likes of “Recreating Bliss” – which featured Terrance Hobbs (Suffocation) and Ricky Myers (Disgorge, ex-Suffocation) – operated as sensory overload, offering more ideas in one song than the entire deathcore brigade could muster between them.
While other tech death bands may have been pushing the envelope and taking the genre into new realms, it was the relative ‘simplicity’ (not a term used lightly) of The Art Of Sickness that stood it out from the pack….these guys weren’t showing off, they were finessing a style of death metal they themselves helped create.
Replacire – Do Not Deviate [USA]
Here’s a band who understands the importance of dynamics, ably softening their relentless attack with clean vocals and a borderline gothic atmosphere and revealing themselves to be a talented bunch of bastards who share a kinship with both The Faceless and the ground-breaking Cynic!
Fluid and forceful, Do Not Deviate ironically deviates from the tech death path at regular intervals, drawing on the fearless nature of the aforementioned Cynic to deliver beauty alongside the expected brutality. The results were uniformly stunning as technicality brushed shoulders with a sound all of their own; a unique personality long thought lost in the often sterile world of technical death metal.
The lesson here is that we desperately needed deviation if tech death was to progress….and we needed Replacire to keep producing albums as good as this!
Rings Of Saturn – Ultu Ulla [USA]
Here’s where Rings Of Saturn finally delivered the album long thought possible. Less deathhore, more insane tech-core, Rings Of Saturn ditched much (not all!) of the bullshit on Ultu Ulla and focused on delivering a set of other-worldly tracks that defied expectation and description!
But, we’ll try nonetheless. “The Relic” sounded like a tech-death sea shanty played by Pac-Man(!) while the circus apparently came to town on “Harvest”. If that doesn’t help to sum up the unique nature of this most divisive band, then nothing will.
Absolute fucking madness.
Suffocation – …Of The Dark Light [USA]
The masters returned in 2017 and boy, did they deliver a modern exercise in brutality and technical prowess!
While some may have balked at the over clinical production there was no denying that Suffocation were still operating way beyond their peers as they hammered their way through another intense collection of brutal, technically outstanding compositions.
Anyone expecting some sort of evolution from Suffocation album number 8 would be missing the point. Frank Mullen and co. practically invented this shit and they don’t need to evolve to impress….they just have to keep giving the public what they want.
Which is exactly what they did with ….Of The Dark Light!
Virulent Depravity – Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree [USA]
The brainchild of Colin Butler (and what a big fuckin’ noggin this man must possess to conjure this beast!), it’s borderline unfathomable that one human being constructed noise of this calibre.
Fully taking the reins, Colin Butler handled all vocals, played guitar and bass and probably made the tea’s and coffee but he wan’t alone in creating this tech death masterpiece. Also roped in to deliver outstanding performances were Malcolm Pugh (Inferi, A Loathing Requiem, and ex-Entheos) – who handled rhythm guitar and a number of mind-boggling solos – and Svart Crown drummer Kevin Paradis; each adding yet another layer to Virulent Depravity‘s sonic maelstrom.
Not discounting a plethora of guest spots, the calibre of musicians involved was clear to hear as Virulent Depravity threw down the gauntlet at the first time of asking.
This was one hell of a 2017 tech death debut!