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Another great release from Indian label Transcending Obscurity, France’s The Scalar Process launch themselves into the technical death metal genre with a monster of a first release in Coagulative Manner. There’s good and there’s enjoyable and not always do the twain meet, but TSP happen to combine both in an album that has been expertly crafted.
The most obvious thing about the band is the refined talent on display, as all 3 members do a stellar job – the drumming is mathematically admirable, the vocals subtly powerful, and the laser-precise guitar soars above the frenetic chaos below. The production is divine and brings a lucid warmth to the mix, with the mixing itself ensuring every note is proud and colourful. The drumming sound is a little stereotypical of the genre and is heavily processed, but still retains its crispness; the licks and riffs are meticulous yet powerful and weave in and out of the intricate drumming and occasionally polyrhythmic vocals. Thoughtful solos are backed by gripping chugs and on tracks like Azimuth the rising riffs climax before making way for more precise palm-muted riffs, background solos, and surging percussion. Overall, it’s a cinematically sweet album with much to admire.
There are a few bloopers on the album, though – is there ever any point to a separate intro track? Surely not in this day and age, and surely not one as purposeless as the jarring notes at the start of Elevation, which are repeated in an identical start to second track Cosmic Flow. The piano playing is erratic and doesn’t fit the mood of the album, and the time spent showing off this dimension of their composition via a guest appearance would have been better suited to playing to their strengths through more oneiric guitar parts. There is also close to four instrumental tracks, which is mildly disorientating: although they’re impressively composed, to bookend the album with them then have 2 more that offer little suggests the band aren’t sure if they want to dabble more in the progressive metal side of things. Still, this is a must-have release for any tech metalheads and anyone looking to hear what technical death metal can sound like when it’s done beautifully.
Release date: February 19, 2021
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