Hey there tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual reminder that if you're looking for more sick music, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
The early stream train continues here today for Tech-Death Tuesday with California natives Mordant Rapture and their release called The Abnegation. You can check out the full EP below ahead of its official release this Friday, July 13th through The Artisan Era.
Among the many stylistic shifts taking hold in the world of technical death metal, few are as double-edged a sword to dabble in than symphonic enhanced stabs at the genre, and for reasons more than it becoming more popular as of late. While I don't think there is anything wrong with going this route, I'm often left feeling the ratio is overly tipped towards bands doing it poorly versus the much smaller pool of acts doing it well. Luckily, Mordant Rapture has integrated a symphonic framework into their music in a way that eschews much of my issues with those who do it poorly.
For starters, the orchestral layers in every song sound great and never feel like thin cheesy filler, secondly, it's very clear the music was written with the symphonic elements at the forefront in mind and not as a bland afterthought to dress up so-so riffing and middling quality music. Thirdly, the flip-side they do right is that the music here even outside of the orchestral layers is executed at a high level, which is something I often get bugged by with this approach as it feels like a lot of bands symphonic ambitions outweigh the quality of the music accompanying it.
Musically, The Abnegation takes an approach that reminds me of Irreversible Mechanism and Enfold Darkness most of all. But, the band's additionally stated influence from black metal like Emperor is apparent at times, as is their likewise stated influence from Spawn Of Possession. Outside of how well this release blends frenetic death metal with symphonic grandeur, it's the clear sonic inspiration from god-tier kings Spawn Of Possession combined with the bands bold melodic moments that excite me most about this release.
The piano-led and cinematic-esque sounding opening of "Unsightly Beast" makes it abundantly clear from the onset that the marriage between symphonic and shred found herein offers the best of both worlds in one compact package. Compact being the key word here, not only because this is an EP, but because of the packed nature of the four main compositions here, offering respite rarely outside of the release's short instrumental, "A Plea Above Ashes".
Prior to the instrumental cut on track three, the whirlwind that is "Withered" offers yet another formula in the band's repertoire when it comes to masterfully gliding between their varied influences. Track four "Quell The Voiceless" pulls the same trick, which is to say, the band again eschews a straightforward approach and goes a different route endlessly when it comes to the mercurial style they play. On "Quell The Voiceless" Mordant Rapture is often hitting the hardest of all the material here with a malevolent heaviness and majesticness on display that is a thrilling adventure to behold. The release comes to a close with "Natal Trophies", the longest song here that clocks in at just under seven minutes. Like the opening track, the closer here features one of the most cinematic sounding instrumental openings, once the band kicks in they continue to build and build towards a crushing zenith of horror found zig-zagging between stop-on-dime shifts, straightforward savagery, and a heaping dose of crushing heaviness when not going full-tilt.
Just when I was beginning to get a bit bored with symphonic minded tech-death, Mordant Rapture come along and blow me the fuck away with their sophisticated debut, The Abnegation. I think it's even more impressive that this is their first release, as it's maturity and finely crafted songwriting sounds more like a group with more released music under their belt. So jam our early stream of The Abnegation below, and if you're digging it, you can pre-order it here or here depending on what you're looking for format and bundle wise. You can follow the band over on the Mordant Rapture Facebook Page.