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.
Next week, the incredible group that is Alustrium will drop their new four-song EP, Insurmountable. Clocking in at just over 23 minutes in length, there's enough to unpack on Insurmountable which will require at least five-to-ten spins at a minimum to really absorb.
For those new to the band, it would be alright to group them within a part of the top-notch Pennsylvania-based progressive/technical death metal scene, alongside Rivers of Nihil, Black Crown Initiate, Burial In The Sky, and more. Active since 2008 (as Altered Image until 2010) the group has dropped a 2010 self-titled demo, their 2011 debut album, An Absence Of Clarity, and their most known work, 2015's second full-length from the group, A Tunnel To Eden.
Like their prior works, Insurmountable is a praiseworthy release precisely because it doesn't sound or operate the way the vast majority of technical death metal groups do. The emphasis on songwriting, groove, and progressive focused flavors color the scope and ambition of their sound more than anything else. As it's been for the group for some time, being primarily focused on the aforementioned factors has certainly led them to craft an identity that is solely theirs. A rare feat in tech-death circles.
As usual, I asked the group if I could get some new quotes and information about their new release. Alustrium kindly shared that "Going into this EP, our number one priority was to make sure that the collective four songs felt like a complete release with all of the twists and turns that we love to incorporate into our music. Each song has it’s own thing to say, but I also like to think of them as little microcosms of the type of elements we try to incorporate into our songwriting. We felt it was important to strike a good balance of ferocious pick melting riffs, catchy melodies, sick grooves, and exciting arrangements. With our upcoming full-length concept album somewhere on the distant 2021 horizon, the mood and lyrical content of the EP is meant to fully set the stage for what’s to come."
Diving further into the writing process of Alustrium – Insurmountable, the group added "The writing process for this release was vastly different than past efforts. Everything we’ve written up to this point required years of tweaking and tinkering with the arrangements. When these songs started to materialize a lot quicker than expected, it was a really exciting time for us. I hit a huge streak of creativity early on in the lockdown which really helped lay out a ton of the major song elements for the EP. Once I brought what I had forward for the rest of the guys to add their unique voices and contributions, it became clear to us that this is going to be a special Alustrium release, despite the truncated run time."
Whether you're new to the group or not, their new release, Insurmountable, is one of the best things in this style that I've heard in 2020. That they're really signaling their return by stating a new full-length will be out in 2021 is just icing on the cake in my view. So be sure to check out the publicly available singles from Insurmountable below. You can follow the group over on Facebook and Bandcamp. *The three out of four songs on the new release that are live are embedded below.