There's a particular appeal to progressive death metal. Combining the ferocity of death metal with the more introspective and calculated approach of prog is inherently intriguing. Not a lot of bands attempt this, and many who do end up on the wrong side of boring. Repetition of elements and motifs, extended passages and slowing down death metal don't necessarily make it progressive. That's why when a band is able to find a good formula and distinguish their sound, they deserve recognition. Enter Sentient Ignition. This young Californian band has made a very compelling statement with their debut release Enthroned In Gray, and demonstrated that they understand exactly what mixture of ingredients will lead them to success.
Fellow tech death enthusiast Ahmed joins me this week and we geek out about tech death for over an hour! Since Eden isn't cool like us, we don't get a chance to do this while he's around, so we really went deep with this opportunity! We discuss some news first, like new music/content from Opeth, Meshuggah, Ion Dissonance, Anaal Nathrakh, Astral Path, VOLA, and an interesting Patreon by The Reign of Kindo. Then we go into tech death, how it has evolved historically and geographically; what its watershed moments were, and we discuss some of the most important and influential albums in the genre. Enjoy!
Way back in 2012, Paul Mazurkiewicz (drummer for Cannibal Corpse) sat down with Billboard (via Metal Injection) and was posed an interesting question: who are death metal's Big 4? Now, boiling any genre down to a definitive group of four is realistically impossible - as important as the Big 4 of thrash are to the genre, bands like Sepultura, Overkill, Kreator and Destruction deserve just as significant a portion of credit. So too was the case with Mazurkiewicz's naming of Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide and Suffocation as the Big 4 of death metal, which leaves out a whole slew of bands seminal to the genre's evolution (Death, Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Autopsy, Carcass and innumerable others). Yet, in terms of balancing popularity, influence and an active status, it's hard to argue with Mazurkiewicz's picks; all four bands are nothing short of genre pioneers who played pivotal roles in defining death metal from its post-thrash transitional stage. However, when we fast forward to the genre's current landscape, it's clear time hasn't been as kind to the infamous blasphemers from the Sunshine State as it has for the rest of DM's Big 4. Despite being near the top of the pack in terms of influence and album sales, Deicide has experienced a noticeable fall from grace from their prime in the early-nineties. But the question is - why? What caused these luminaries to become lost?
A few years back, I wrote a piece on the negativity towards extended range guitars in metal. You can find that piece here. The extended range guitar, which is loosely defined as anything that has more strings/frets/range than your average 6-string-24-fret-standard-scale guitar. We all know the deal. Four years ago, with the peak of djent and generally a new strain of progressive metal, extended range guitars were emerging in the mainstream of metal. Of course, just like any other change in the metal scene, a large amount of people reacted rather negatively to this. There was a portion of the scene that embraced this, and that lead to a variety of creative and innovative bands like Native Construct (8 strings), Dissipate (9 strings), Coma Cluster Void (10 strings) and so many more. After these years, are people more accepting of the movement now? What changed? Let's take a look at it.