Greetings tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's column, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking to find even more sick bands, you can do so here.
For the uninitiated, or just to begin to explain the narrative at hand, California has been a hotbed of activity for technical death metal for over twenty years at this point. Specifically, technical brutal death metal inspired by Suffocation and California pioneers Deeds of Flesh (Members of which started and ran Unique Leader Records–and helped the scene to flourish, until recently due to the unfortunate passing of Erik Lindmark in 2018.) and later on, Decrepit Birth inspired progressive death metal strains within the genre overall as well. As far as a solid foundation goes from which to be inspired by and form your own sound, the California-based approach to tech-death flourished for good reason and has led to numerous standout acts over time. We could spend a few pages solely discussing this part of the tech-death scene and how goddamn good its best bands are/were.
There's still no shortage of killer tech-death bands from Cali and that region-specific technical death metal style still lives on worldwide, but it does feel like the era in which it seemed to be everywhere has somewhat come to an end. Among bands carrying the torch for this style in the present, Ominous Ruin is certainly one of the best as last year's debut album for the band, Amidst Voices That Echo In Stone, made abundantly clear. Which we did the album stream premiere for in this space.
For reasons I don't know and won't speculate on, Petr Oplatka, one of the guitarists for Ominous Ruin who played on their 2021 album, left the group before it came out. A year later and Petr made known a project he was a part of since 2007, Illucinus, would finally see an updated and proper release for their 2008 EP, The Machine. The new version of this that just saw the light of day here in 2022 does differ in a few ways beyond just the production. The original version was 7 songs (one of which was an intro) and ran for a total of 15 minutes, and the new version is 6 songs clocking in at 19 minutes. A different line-up was also involved in the recording of this version of The Machine, one which includes members of Enigma (whose excellent 2016 effort, Stars Misaligned was premiered here for this column before release), current/former Ominous Ruin members, and Arcane Existence. Although I suspect all of these differences won't make a lot of difference for most as this will be their first time hearing it same as it was for me.
In a lot of ways, The Machine feels like an interesting musical time capsule of sorts, energetic and brimming with ambition, every song on the EP feels like a top-tier snapshot of the moment in time it was initially conceived, and yet it doesn't feel outdated or stale. The Machine definitely ranks up their quality-wise with all of the best bands from the era it came from. The added Origin-style hyper-shred element is a nice addition that helps it stick out as well in my opinion.
So be sure to check out The Machine through the Bandcamp embed below. If you dig what you're hearing, the release is out now via Sevared Records and can be purchased here and here. I'm interested in seeing what they come up with next. Factoring in the upcoming West Coast tour Illucinus is on with Aethereus and Ominous Ruin that begins on August 4th, it seems like the band has serious plans for their future. You can check out the tour flyer and dates here. You can follow the group over on the Illucinus Facebook Page and Instagram Page.