One of the most disappointing omissions from this year's Summer Slaughter lineup is Vancouver's oft-slept on Archspire. Having released a profile-raising sophomore album last month on notable label Seasons of Mist, 2014 seemed like the perfect early afternoon support slot (no offense to Thy Art Is Murder but… didn't we just see you last year?).
Oh well, it's still early and Summer Slaughter won't be the only game in town. Archspire really are the perfect kind of hyper-technical, borderline prog type of death metal band that fans of the tour eat up with a spoon, though. Their 2011 debut, All Shall Align, was impressive enough, a relentless onslaught of fingertip-shredding start/stop riffs, but this year's The Lucid Collective tops its predecessor in just about every conceivable manner.
If the music itself doesn't seem noticeably more impressive than the debut it's only because the band were already operating at a genre-defining peak before ever entering the studio in the first place. Even if the breakneck speed doesn't impress you any more than the first album, though, there's more of a focus on real riffs here than the kinds of weird, alien sounds that All Shall Align was filled with.
Like its predecessor, The Lucid Collective is an extremely lean beast, eight tracks in less than 35 minutes, but this isn't the kind of music you want maximizing a CD's run time. Even if you think that you've had your fill of tech death and can't stomach another whirlwind riff fest, give this one a shot: you may find that your appetite for impossibly fast shredding and Neil Peart-meets-Fear Factory percussion still has room for dessert.