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, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
As the title for today’s column states, this is a tech-death throwback, something I’ve done several times before in the past but haven’t done one in over a year here. So many of the best works in the genre are unknown to most fans or are known only by older fans and not by those who only got into the genre in the last couple of years. So, we’ll focus on some of my all-time favorites that deserve far more attention again at times, starting with Acheode – Anxiety today.
I first heard about the Italian technical brutal death metal/mathcore group Acheode through a late night youtube listening session in 2012 which placed a Youtube suggestion for the albums opening track, “Parasitic Gangrene” and it’s accompanying music video in front of me. That was more than enough to hook me in and see what the rest of the album had to offer. As cool as that track is, the release just gets better and better with every subsequent song that follows it in my opinion. Likewise, the creepy and unusual cover art of a man being strangled by a baby’s umbilical cord is a strong visual hook that cues you in that Anxiety offers something a bit different and unorthodox from the norm.
Anxiety feels like the spiritual successor of groups like Viraemia, Origin, and Psyopus, a hostile high-grade offering of tech-death fuelled by brutality, mathcore influenced two-handed tapping leadwork in abundance, sweep overloads, and spastic grindcore bursts popping up at just the right times. I personally refer to them as the Italian Rings of Saturn, except this is far more interesting and also doesn’t sound like it was made in guitar pro but by actual humans. Fans of Archspire and Killitorous will also love this release. Not just because this release, like ones from those bands, is centered around bat-shit insanity and over-the-top leadwork, but because Acheode like those two, structures their music around stop-on-a-dime shifts and varied tempos in order to continually up the intensity and play off a finely constructed push/pull dynamic. Anyone who knows this style knows most of the bands who play it straightforward at all times for every track ends up becoming incredibly boring and one note when listened to start to finish.
This is eye-popping deranged stuff, but somehow it has a catchy quality to it due in part to the memorable and freaky lead guitar work and varied songwriting that keeps it fresh. Only two songs even crack the four-minute mark and the entire release clocks in at just over 28 minutes divided between eight tracks. For music this intense, I’m of the opinion that less is more and that’s perfected here in a way in a zero filler all killer way few have ever done this strongly. Acheode’s ability to break up the frenetic pace with back-breaking brutality, monstrous breakdowns and some slams, mid-paced build ups intertwined with wild shredding, extended instrumental passages, and demolishing grooves is just as important and another big part of what makes this release stand out. Flashy, but, with lots of substance and an interesting approach, I can only think of a few who’ve created anything even remotely similar to Acheode – Anxiety over the years when it comes to mathcore infused tech-death.
Anxiety is a curious gem which never got its just dues at the time of release in 2012 among fans of technical death metal. It definitely made my year-end list at NoCleanSinging.com then but seemed to go largely unnoticed among fans of the scene and line-up shifts post-release has left the project on hiatus after several new songs were written after 2012 from what I read on their Facebook. I have honestly listened to this album hundreds of times over the last 7 years. For the last three months, it’s been the only thing I’ve been playing in my car while driving because it’s too damn fun and gets me amped up every time I hear it. I’m not expecting it will be for everyone like some of my other upcoming throwback picks will be, but, for those who like bat-shit insane somewhat unorthodox tech-death, Acheode – Anxiety will likely become a favorite of yours. So check out some of the music below through Spotify that I embedded below. If you’re into it, I did some digging and found some cd copies available through Discogs, and digital versions of the release for sale on Amazon and Itunes also. In the off chance the band does indeed return one day as they said they’d like to, you can always follow them over on the Acheode Facebook Page.