Archspire are, first and foremost, fast. Everything about The Lucid Collective is tight, taught and percussive, from the brutal-death-leaning snare tone to vocalist Oli Peters’ inhumanly pummeling rap-growled vocal lines. Guitarists Dean Lamb and Tobi Moreli execute hairpin curves in mid riff while the bass hammers along in support. These guys are no slouches, not by a long shot, but as always, technical ability is a prerequisite in this genre rather than a standout attribute. The Lucid Collective is worth your time because its performances rarely attempt to overshadow the core of wild riffing and adrenaline-soaked rhythm that’s at the center of the album.
The album clocks in at a little over half an hour (excellent timing for a tech-death album), and there’s nary a dull moment to be seen. “Lucid Collective Somnambulation” explodes out of your speakers with little introduction and its intensity holds for the rest of the record. Spectacularly, not a single song is wasted. Even though everything’s a wank-fest at it’s core the songs sport memorable rhythms, leads and vocal lines, with powerful solos to boot. Archspire knows how to write excellent riffs that are both comprehensible and interesting and they back those riffs up with measuredly virtuosic performances all around.
The Lucid Collective‘s sound is best understood as Planetary Duality-era The Faceless played at double speed by slam dilettantes. On top of that very solid foundation, the band draws influence from not only their immediate peers but more groove-oriented death subgenres and even chopper-style hip-hop vocals. Everything fast gets thrown into the pot, and out pour gems like “Join us Beyond,” “The Plague of Am,” and “Kairos Chamber.”
In order to keep the record clean, the production of The Lucid Collective is slightly lacking in low-end compared to its peers. The guitars are very treble-oriented, and the bass most prominent in the middle of it’s range. It’s a production choice I wholeheartedly support – although the album seems a little airy at first, it sounds very good when the 64th notes roll in and never gets muddy.
Somehow, Archspire have both won tech-death’s pissing contest and produced a damn good album, which should stun you more than a little bit. If you’re on the search for tech death that’s as memorable and effective as it is searingly fast, The Lucid Collective will not disappoint.
Tracks to Check: “Join us Beyond,” “Lucid Collective Somnambulation” and “Kairos Chamber”