Hey there tech-fiends, the glorious month of April is now upon us. There's a lot of sick tech-death releases dropping soon, and I'm happy to say I'll be doing streams for several of them. Starting with today's early stream of Fruit of the Poisoned Tree, the debut album from Virulent Depravity. Before we dive into it, here's the usual weekly reminder that all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
While I'm by no means the "authority" on tech-death, I'd like to think that having spent over a decade knee deep in this scene, that I've heard the vast majority of what's out there from both well-known names, and obscure legends praised only by those in the know as well. As such, it's immediately recognizable to me when I hear something that's truly remarkable and memorable, and that's exactly how I felt about a year ago when Virulent Depravity mastermind Colin Butler showed me his group's material in its early embryonic stages. Since that point, he continued to refine and add to the already written music for some time in order to give it that extra layer of nasty sauce we all crave. All of which has paid off since Fruit of the Poisoned Tree is fucking incredible from start to finish.
While certainly not a clone of Spawn of Possession, Virulent Depravity's music often reminds me of the almighty SOP in terms of the style of tech-death performed here, and also in regards to the sheer maze-like density of these compositions as well. There's also a pinch of groove woven into some of the riffs and passages, subtly reminding me of Psycroptic and Soreption, though it's not done in the same way as those bands, nor as often. To these ears, I also detect an Anata-ish sense of melody as well, though that might just be me. Much like last year's First Fragment record, Fruit of the Poisoned Tree is a tour de force of world class riffing, endless scorching solos, and speed-addled demise delivered in a complex and mind-boggling way.
Even after countless spins, it still boggles my mind that one human being wrote all of this material by themselves. Not only did Colin write all of this, he also performs all of the vocals, plays guitar, and does a killer job playing bass on the record too. Thankfully the bass is audible here, which is always a plus in my book considering how many tech-death bands have near inaudible bass on their releases. In case anyone reading this didn't know, Colin recruited two heavyweight musicians to join him in creating this album. The first is none other than guitar god Malcolm Pugh (Inferi, A Loathing Requiem, and ex-Entheos) performing rhythm guitar on the album, as well as contributing a number of sick solos too. Rounding out the line-up is Svart Crown's drummer Kevin Paradis, and true to form, he delivers an intense envelope-pushing performance on every song. As if all that wasn't enough, there's also a shitload of killer guest spots littered throughout the album. So many in fact, that it would take almost a whole paragraph to type out, so suffice to say, check the liner notes on the Bandcamp page if you're curious to see who all pops up on the album as a guest.
In spite of being honestly enthusiastic about everything I cover, there's only a handful of releases in a given year that stick with me on heavy replay after that year ends. For me, Fruit of the Poisoned Tree is one of those exceptions, an unholy gift from the tech-death gods that strikes at the heart of the jaded notion that this style is played out. There's a number of other records I'm eagerly anticipating within the genre this year, but Virulent Depravity has already set a ridiculously high bar for tech-death in 2017 that I suspect few others will surpass. So jam our early stream below, and if you dig what you're hearing, the album officially drops this Friday, April 7th through The Artisan Era Records. Pre-orders and merch. bundle packages are available through The Artisan Era website, through The Artisan Era Bandcamp page, and also through the Virulent Depravity Bandcamp page. Be sure to follow the band on the Virulent Depravity Facebook page too.