Tech-Death Tuesday: Early Stream of In Ancient Contemplation from FIELDS OF ELYSIUM
Hey there tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking for even more sick bands to hear, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
If you're new to Fields of Elysium, they're a New Mexico based tech-death band I've been following for years and had covered here before at the end of 2015. It's been a long time since their last release, 2012's Capax Universi, which blew me away. Finally, they're back with a new album called In Ancient Contemplation which drops next Monday, July 1st. We've got an earlier than usual full stream of the album for you today and you can read on to learn more about it or just click play below immediately.
Before we dissect the effort, I have a statement from the group's bassist/vocalist Andre to fill us in, when asked about what the title and themes of In Ancient Contemplation means, he said, "Well, it's a line from "Alligator Mountain" (a song on their new album released as a single) it's just about how no matter the damage that our plague of an existence has done to this beast that we live on, it is basically unscathed in the grand scheme of things, and it exists in the ancient contemplation of creation and destruction, we will kill ourselves off before the planet is too adversely affected, and as the song says, the universe will replace us."
While that aptly explains where the band is coming from in terms of themes and lyrics, musically, they're still very hard to pin in a way that defies convention while never being so unorthodox as to alienate tech-death and prog-death fans altogether entirely. To that end, In Ancient Contemplation introduces emotive clean singing on a few songs. a first for the band. This is paired with a lot more lighter instrumental passages, though that was present prior for sure but a bigger part of what this release has to say musically.
Sonically, Fields of Elysium are a rare breed for technical brutal death metal, between their progressive metal, mathcore, and grindcore roots setting them apart along with their unconventional ideas pertaining to songwriting in the tech-death sphere. This takes a primary form of uncommon mathcore and Psyopus-y styled material driven by two-handed tapping, and clearly, some Archspire influence it feels like this time. While evolving upon both the brutal, jazz-inflected, and proggy paths the group was already doing well within their prior works.
Although I quoted the band above, I'm going to do so again now because this is the kind of mindfuck material benefitted by having the people who made it explain it from their view. To that end, Fields of Elysium told me that In Ancient Contemplation is "an evolution of the established sound Fields has been known for, complex tapping riffs, weird jazzy breaks, but we have honed in on melody and structure whereas our early material was a hit more chaotic. The progressive influence will be very apparent on this one. Lyrically, we didn’t want to be confined to the typical imagery and subject matter usually expected of this genre. Instead, we wrote songs that have personal meaning to us and a viable message for people to contemplate is weaved throughout." That pretty much sums it up, yet, it still leaves a lot to the listener to dissect, so I urge you to check this group out.
To be blunt, and as another praise of the group, In Ancient Contemplation is the kind of album I love to put on for people who feel tech-death has peaked or they think they’ve heard it all. I have yet to hear anyone I showed their music to who may be bitter, that these guys weren’t on to something special and had jaded people always admit as much. That says a lot to me given how particular tech-death fans are for unorthodox things within this realm. So check out the full album stream of In Ancient Contemplation below and see how you feel about it. If you’re into it, pre-orders can be placed through the Fields of Elysium Bandcamp page. You can follow the group over on the Fields of Elysium Facebook page.