I suppose that if I’m going to go around preaching a “Gospel of Tech Death”, I should probably start at the beginning. But do I really need to yap on about how pinnacle bands like Death, Cynic, Atheist, Pestilence and Gorguts are? Nah, didn’t think so. So, perhaps, you’ll allow me to introduce you to the bands that really pushed me towards the more technical stuff when I was in my late teens. Sure, they won’t all be death metal. Deal with it and join me in basking in the nostalgia.
In the beginning, while searching for my niche, I’d find myself up super late on Sundays so I could catch the local underground radio show. Edge Underground introduced me to a ton of music, but none of what I heard on there stuck with me as long as The Human Abstract has. I lusted for edginess that was satisfied with Nate Ells’ screams, breakdowns and double kick drums. But it wasn’t so obnoxiously far away from any of the other stuff I was jamming at the time. Nocturne, released in 2006, was and is such an incredible underground metalcore staple. Significantly more progressive than its predecessor, their sophomore LP, Midheaven (which I can find literally nowhere on the web) didn’t receive the same acclaim. It’s certainly the unsung hero among THA’s discog. When it looked like the project was over, The Human Abstract came back to their roots with Digital Veil.
The Human Abstract played my first metal show, accompanied by 36 Crazyfists, All That Remains and Trivium. Naturally, I was late and arrived during THA’s second to last song. But luck would have it and I was offered another chance to see them within a couple months with As I Lay Dying, Protest the Hero and MyChildren MyBride. Little did I know that one of those bands would become one of my ultimate favorites a decade later.
Protest the Hero are one of those bands that I was fortunate enough to get into early in their careers so I could have the opportunity to watch them grow and evolve. Fortress had just come out the year prior, and I was hooked on the first listen. Their first LP, Kezia, pulled me in even further. Though a vastly different sound than its successors, punk inspired A Calculated Use of Sound was amazing in its own right. It dawned on me after Volition dropped in 2013 that without question, Protest was my favourite band. It seemed impossible for them to release anything that I wouldn’t like. 2015’s Pacific Myth further drove that point home. Four years later and they’re planning on releasing one of my most anticipated albums of 2019, and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am.
I don’t even remember how I stumbled onto the Beneath the Massacre dudes. I can kind of remember getting into them right before they toured with Despised Icon, Carnifex and The Plasmarifle. The breakdowns were what attracted me ten years ago, their technicality is what keeps me around now. I took a long break from their discography for a while as I grew apart from the deathcore scene, but then I rediscovered how incredible every single one of their releases was. Mechanics of Dysfunction and Evidence of Inequity are without question my favoutites. I only got to see them once, and my heart longs to catch them live at least one more time.
Born of Osiris were the first band off the Sumerian records roster that I stumbled onto, and they were direct support on my second metal show, headlined by Darkest Hour. Significantly heavier than everything else I listened to, there were no cleans, no soft guitars, just breakdowns, blast beats, dope solos and some sick gutturals. Admittedly, these guys pushed me towards being the deathcore kid I was for a few years. But The New Reign was so solid (the rerelease kinda blows, though). And they also helped open that Pandora’s box that was Sumerian Records, and thus more technical bands like The Faceless, The HAARP Machine, Periphery and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
So I suppose that brings me to The Faceless, doesn’t it? Late last year I blabbed on about how I FINALLY got to see Planetary Duality live in its entirety. And even though Michael Keene was previously the epicenter for disaster, it was still fucking magical to see him get up there with three other incredible musicians and play oh so perfectly such a pinnacle album. Sure, I could yap on forever about them, but you COULD just click that link right up there and read what I’ve already yapped about.
And lastly, I played an album today that I haven’t even thought about in close to ten years. Circle of Contempt‘s Artifacts in Motion was breakbeat in it’s purest form, evermore pure than what Born of Osiris, After the Burial and Veil of Maya were putting out. I remember it being so near impossible to get my hands on (via limewire and frostwire) that I busted a proverbial nut when I finally did. They released an EP in 2012, but it didn’t have the same feel. They came back in 2016 with some new faces and a new LP, but that didn’t have the original feel either. But I’ve rediscovered this diamond among the Sumerian shit, and I still have a positive outlook for Circle of Contempt’s future.
Hopefully you’ve gotten through this. And I hope this gives a solid idea of where my musical tastes have evolved from. So behold, our journey through techdeath has begun. A winding road awaits.