Redemptor – Arthaneum [Things You Might Have Missed 2017]

Redemptor - Arthaneum 01When excelling beyond sterile and soulless wankery, technical death metal really can be a marvelous aural experience. Spawn of Possession’s Cabinet, Necrophagist’s Epitaph, Capharnaum’s Fractured, Psycroptic’s The Scepter of the Ancients, and Anata’s Conductor’s Departure are but a small handful of post-millennium classics offering examples of how well the sub-genre can be executed with style and actual song-writing chops. Beyond Creation, Soreption, Wormed, Sophicide, Archspire, and Alustrium have risen to impressive heights in more recent times, and now Poland’s experienced but unsung tech-death wrecking ball Redemptor strike with their monstrous third LP, Arthaneum, which dropped at the very end of November. Although on the cusp of the release schedule wasteland of December, Redemptor’s Arthaneum is an album not to be missed for keen fans of the style, searching for something a little different in their tech-death.

By technical death metal standards, Arthaneum is an odd but compelling beast that stands-out by operating outside the box, while holding all the trademarks avid listeners of the style have come to expect. The intricate and complex musicianship impresses in all departments, but there’s a more measured, controlled approach, rather than purely focusing on unrelenting barrages of speed and cramming as many notes and ideas into each song as humanly possible. Redemptor artfully construct each composition, fusing spacey atmospherics, strange discordance. and abstract melody with clever tempo variations, soulful guitar solos, and a touch of subtlety rare in the field. Fortunately, Redemptor’s aggressive tendencies, pile-driving grooves, blunt force blasts and thick guttural vocals are never far from the surface, making for a well rounded a consistently entertaining album.

The guitar work is a highlight and album strong point. Daniel Kesler (also on vocals) and Hubert Więcek offer a broad array of intricate strokes, impressing with their ethereal melodies, alien experimentation, bluesy touches, and full-blooded riffage, gracefully flowing from clean, elegant passages of beauty to dense and crushing riffs. The variation and adventurous nature of the guitar work recall Morbid Angel at their peak, though Redemptor are never slaves to their influences, crafting an album of beguiling power and originality. “Eminence Grise” opens the album in thunderous style, a knotty and headbangable gem of thick, contorted riffage and commanding double kick work. “Cremation of Care” bludgeons and flows through intricate passages, pummeling drum work, and chunky riffs, while scintillating solos and leads grip the soul. Pretty much every song makes a sizable impact across an airtight and very consistent album.

Redemptor - Arthaneum 02Arthaneum keeps beckoning me to return, and so far the replay value has been excellent. The album is boosted by a crystalline, robust production job that affords the listener the luxury of dissecting and absorbing the album’s many stellar traits. If I did have a nit to pick, it’s regarding the vocals. Kesler utilizes a rather sturdy, standard bellow, but the unnecessary use of effects often filtering through can be a little off-putting. I’m guessing the band was seeking to match the music’s alien charms with some otherworldly vocal effects. It certainly isn’t a deal breaker by any means, nor does it offer anything particularly interesting to the equation.

Arthaneum came out of nowhere and strong-armed itself into list consideration with a supreme and unique example of the tech-death style. Marked by innovative guitar work, dynamic and addictive song-writing, and the praiseworthy adventurism of an experienced band working against type, Arthaneum is a distinctive and rare jewel in the crown of exceptional modern technical death metal.

Tracks to Check Out: “Eminence Grise,” “Cremation of Care,” “Tremor”

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