Considering the Canadian reputation for near-suspicious levels of polite inoffensiveness, it seems unusual that America’s neighbours to the north are such a prolific exporter of maelstrom-churning, frenetic technical death metal. Montreal-based tech-death quintet Derelict differ from the likes of Cryptopsy, Neuraxis and their ilk in one key respect, however – they leaven the chaos in their compositions with healthy doses of melody and groove.
That’s not to say that they’re tech-death-lite, however – during the 43-minute pummelling of the band’s second album, Perpetuation, the needle on my patented aggression-o-meter barely dips below “Pretty Fuckin’ Livid” at any point. Vocalist Eric Burnett’s exhortations stay firmly in harshly-screamed / gutturally-roared territory throughout, his spite-filled lyrics delivered with wallpaper-stripping ferocity and impressive clarity in a manner that sounds not entirely unlike one Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God. Meanwhile, as Burnett grunts, roars and shrieks away, the rest of the band displays a mastery of their instruments that puts one in mind of a high-speed ‘Tables, Ladders and Chairs’ wrestling match between The Black Dahlia Murder, Death and Decrepit Birth. Drummer Jordan Perry’s deployment of blastbeats is frequent, guitarists Max Lussier and Simon Cléroux unspool intricate tapestries of tremolo-picking, scale-scampering and finger-tapping riffs, and Xavier Sperdouklis’ fretless bass noodlings provide both weight and low-end melodic counterpoint, adding an almost jazzy flavour to the high-speed assault.
What really makes Perpetuation a successful album, however, is not the bombardment of the senses that occurs when the band shift into top gear and blast for all they’re worth – rather, it’s the keen sense of structure and dynamics the band employ in their songwriting which makes each track a memorable effort in its own right. See, for instance, the mid-point of ‘Olympic’, which shifts down a few gears for a relatively simplistic, stomping riff which leads satisfyingly into an instantly memorable tapped solo, or the primally satisfying, neanderthalic bludgeon of the riff that barges rudely into view at the 2:13 mark of ‘The Iridium Layer’. Such moments are scattered liberally throughout Perpetuation, meaning that the album never simply fades into the background as an unvarying cloud of widdly-blasty white noise.
Of course, all the instrumental prettiness and compositional nous in the world would be all for naught were the album hamstrung by a muddy, indistinct mix – thankfully, Cryptopsy‘s Chris Donaldson was on hand for mixing and mastering duties, and he delivers a production that allows enough separation between the instruments so that all of the members’ uniformly impressive contributions can be heard, and that none are left sounding anaemic. So, in conclusion – Perpetuation is a highly recommended release for fans of technical death metal which doesn’t skimp on melody or memorability.
Derelict’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DerelictMetal