Archspire The Lucid Collective Reviewed

I’ll probably get in trouble for this one, but I kind of love this album. Archspire are a tech-death band from Vancouver and The Lucid Collective is their second album. Some of my readers might argue that this is too metalcore. Some might argue that it consists of too much nonsense noodling. There’s too much technical showing off and not enough real content. I can see some truth in all these viewpoints which is why I’m preempting these comments. I still love it.

There are parts that remind me a bit of Spawn of Possession and other parts that remind me of Sikth. They are definitely their own beast, though. Let’s start with what is one of my favorite aspects of this band. The vocals are great. I can take or leave almost all vocals in almost all genres of metal. This is because most vocals are just inaudible growls that seem tangentially related to what the rest of the band is doing.

On this album, Peters (the vocalist) is aware of all the nuances of what the band is doing. The vocals are seamlessly integrated into the music as an essential component. They provide real substance to the songs. Sometimes they provide rhythmic support with rapid percussive barking. Sometimes they provide depth to the sound with more sustained full singing. The timbre and style adapts to the song, and I wish more vocalists were aware that this was a viable possibility. Vocals shouldn’t feel like an afterthought.

Let’s face it. This is a technical album, and as such we should judge it from a certain disposition. We have to expect a fair amount of ridiculous guitar solos. That being said, I find the album to be far from pure technical masturbation. The moments focused on the band as a whole are plenty technical, and they have a well-crafted balance with the soloing. I can’t help but compare this album to Soreption’s. I mostly found Soreption falling into the trap of technique that I didn’t find that interesting and hence didn’t find myself revisiting that album much.

Archspire seems to pull themselves out of the standard tech-death trappings. The music underlying the technique is pretty interesting. It is constantly evolving. It balances tonally static parts with wild, almost progressive sounds. It balances tight grooves and rhythm with parts that might be called a-rhythmic. The point is that the songs change and evolve in ways that are not just artificial. They pull the listener along to keep wondering what will happen next. There aren’t the typical excessively technical parts that cause me to zone out.

The album is cleanly produced. In light of the above discussion, this means that when certain aspects are being highlighted, they are audible. This might be a turn-off for some people. It does kind of feel like you are being passed around from idea to idea rather than some old school death metal that has all aspects smashed into one muddy sound. I don’t think this is bad at all. It is just a different way of doing things.

Why do I love this? Overall, because it is technical and challenging while still having a great sense of balance and creativity. I highly recommend this to anyone into technical death metal. I kind of feel like I’m cheating this album by not going more in depth on any of the songs, but *mumble mumble* thesis excuse *mumble mumble*. I give it a 9.5/10. Here’s a sample:

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6 thoughts on “Archspire The Lucid Collective Reviewed

  1. david says:

    “Overall, because it is technical and challenging while still having a great sense of balance and creativity.”

    It appears so from this track. It feels very musical despite the technicality. I’d have to give it more time and find the full album to really form an opinion.
    Thanks for the warnings, btw~

  2. david says:

    Would you check out Sammath’s “Godless Arrogance”? I am really interested on what you would have to say about their method for building songs.
    I was impressed by the fact that the music was able to portray the feeling of descending on the beaches of Normandy amidst flying bullets and grenade explosions. Not only the suffocation and danger expressed but some sections even go into a battery-like frenzy which reminds me of the sound of heavy machine guns and an overall desperate feeling.

  3. david says:

    PS. I write this hear because I don’t see any option to send you some kind of private message.

  4. fenrir says:

    Ok, I listened to Archspire’s album once and I think it is enough
    given that I think I am able to digest its nature from it
    not being that different from its peers at the very core.

    For starters I think it can be enjoyable, as you said, because
    despite its flaws, they show a very good sense for placing
    adornments. The embellishments themselves are not utterly
    innovative, but they are used to maximum efficiency and caught
    me off guard half of the times. Also, most of the soloing here
    is pretty consonant, with the typical diminished arpeggiation
    spamming at moments where they want to create a sort of
    hiccup. At most there is some chromatic movement but I think
    it is just the normal type which occurs inevitably at some point
    or another in music that is fairly consonant. So, not really
    chromatism. So, reiterate: very consonant soloing and a very
    good sense of placement and melodies that appeal to a natural
    human sense (in the context of Western traditional popular
    music, at least). This reminded me of the reason why I was
    really attracted to The Faceless’ “Planetary Duality” when
    was still getting into extreme music. If you like this kind of
    soloing plus some atmosphere and you do not mind an obvious
    naive rock sensibility hidden deep under it, you might enjoy that
    album to. I currently do not hold The Faceless in such a high
    esteem and keep the album copy for nostalgia’s sake and some
    respect.

    On the other hand, after I put enough time in figuring out the
    nature of the embellishment patterns I also started to think
    that if the music was only about this, it could get old really
    quickly, since there is only so much superficial sugar can do for
    a serious audience. I both thought this and felt it by the end
    of the 4th track, when the effect was wearing off on me. So I
    concentrated my mind on the “center”, so to speak, of the music.
    Pushing the curly guitar and drum fills to the sides and focusing
    on the actual riffs, lines or chords at the very heart of the music.
    The vapidity of the music was thus revealed: each section
    is a completely random unrelated idea to what came before or what
    comes after of the song. Sometimes they do introduce slight variations
    to some parts and when they did it was the best moments in the music
    but they would soon shatter that by just playing random Cryptopsy
    adoration bits or breakdown-ish things.
    This is the disgusting trend brough about by abominations such as
    Death’s “The Sound of Perseverance”, whose coming was forboded by the
    few post 1991 albums released by this band.

    “Do you think gaudy colors can gloss over the misery of the world?” Hieronymus shouts. “Do you think loud orgies of luxurious good taste can drown the moans of the tortured earth? … Art is the sacred torch that must shed its merciful light into all life’s terrible depths, into every shameful and sorrowful abyss; art is the divine flame that must set fire to the world, until the world with all its infamy and anguish burns and melts away in redeeming compassion!”

  5. david says:

    Btw, probably more than enough reviews have been written about Gorguts’ Obscura. Probably more than we’d like to count have referenced it. But does any of them have the perspective of a classically trained and formally educated composition major?

    I think not! I’d love to read your detailed digestion of that album. Along with all its musical blunders (which I guess it has from a formal standpoint of traditional Western music… Common Practice Period…)…

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