A Sweet Metal Album You Probably Haven’t Heard – Part Two

Technical death metal has seen a significant rise in popularity over the last few years. However, the truth of the matter is that hardly any of these new bands are even coming close to seeing the masters of the 90′s (Cynic, Pestilence, Atheist) who paved the way for the genre.

Sure Necrophagist, The Faceless, or whoever’s big this week, are impressive, but none of these bands come close to making substantial musical statements like the pioneering bands did. Most of the time these technical death metal bands aren’t even really that technical, they just play really fast. Chances are they will all burn their instruments and go cry in a corner once the new Gorguts album comes out (here’s hoping).

The truth is that there is a really short list of technical death metal albums recorded more recently that I think will be able to stand the test of time like “Focus,” “Spheres” and “Elements” have. Martyr’s “Warp Zone” and “Feeding the Abscess” make that list (and I’m sure I will be posting about this tremendous band soon), and so does Theory in Practice’s “The Armageddon Theories.”

This Swedish band recorded three albums, the first one,”Third Eye Function,” was a little rough and borrowed quite a bit from Meshuggah as I remember it.

“The Armageddon Theories” was their second album, and it is one of the most brilliant and complex death metal albums ever recorded. This is a band that when you say technical, you really mean it. There are some riffs on this album I have listened to a million times and still have no idea what the hell is going on.

So the playing is disgustingly complex, we’ve confirmed that, but the arrangements are also quite brilliant and very varied. Most of these tech death metal bands of today just sound like a train passing by – a train with the conductor playing some sped-up Van Halen tapping phrase on loop, perhaps – but Theory in Practice put together a both incredibly varied and cohesive album here that fails to tire.

They also add spooky and slightly Emperor-esque keyboards here and there to add even more confusion and brilliance to the mix.

The album released after this one, unfortunately, failed to meet my high expectations. On the third album “Colonizing the Sun,” the drummer, who is also the band leader and singer, did just about the stupidest thing he could have done.

He decided to focus on singing and let someone else play drums. This was devastatingly stupid because not only are his screechy vocals about the only part of the band one might call “average,” but more importantly, his drum skills were on some other, other shit, and of course, his replacement behind the kit didn’t measure up at all (not saying he sucked, he just wasn’t nearly as sick as this dude).

The band broke up after that, so obviously, he totally should have listened to me and stuck to playing drums, but whatevs.

Anyway, this album came out in 1999 on the great Listenable Records. Here’s the opening track of awesomeness.

%d bloggers like this: