If you’re looking for death metal taken to absurd extremes of technicality and speed, look no further than Vancouver’s own Archspire. Though they haven’t released that many albums over the last 10 years (perhaps because of the amount of effort it takes to compose material such as theirs), they’ve quickly built themselves up into an elite band in the realm of metal; hell, even Aqua Man is a fan. Now they’re back with Bleed the Future, a sequel that after being nominated for a Juno Award on their last album Relentless Mutation may be a tough one-up to pull off, but if any band is up to the task it’s this one.
Right out the gate, Archspire come out blazing with the ferocious “Drone Corpse Aviator”, a ruthless audio assault that answers the question of what five miniguns firing at once would sound like if it was made into a song. Next we get a laser-precise string of licks amidst a mess of chugs on “Golden Mouth of Ruin” and an all-around shredding masterclass on “Abandon the Linear”; the title track “Bleed the Future” is equally sharp. “Drain of Incarnation” starts off far cleaner and simpler in its first minute, about as much reprieve listeners are going to get before being launched headlong into another 3 minutes of light-speed riffs and gravity blasts. “Acrid Canon” is another musical spasm that guitarists can either appreciate or despise and throw their axe out the window to, as is the arpeggio-laden “Reverie on the Onyx”. Bleed closes with one last ripper, the 400 BPM “A.U.M.”, the title calling back to the cultic concept behind Relentless Mutation and suggesting this may be a continuous theme in the band’s output.
Judging by this record in comparison to its acclaimed predecessor, there’s no reason to suggest Archspire won’t continue to travel upward in terms of their technicality and overall craftsmanship. It will be interesting to see on their next record what type of sonic feats they’ll pull off next, not to mention what sort of lyrical matter the next crop of songs will be based on. Will we see the continuation of concepts from this album and previous records, as demonstrated on “A.U.M.”, or will it be something entirely different? Nothing is certain except the fact that Archspire keeps getting more and more solid and proficient with every record, setting a mighty standard for anyone coming after them to surpass.