Technical death metal, like a lot of extreme music genres, has become rather popular in recent years. Whether it be the ones who use complex arrangements and virtuosity to give death metal a face-lift, or the ones who use the genre tag as an excuse to show off their technical skills, it seems like the metal world is drowning in a sea of these types of acts. Despite their jaw-dropping musicianship, a lot of technical death metal bands fall prey to the same tired old conventions of the bands before them. But there are some, however, who break out of the mold. Rome’s Deceptionist is one of those bands. This Italian quartet’s debut album, Initializing Irreversible Process, attempts to give a unique take on the technical death metal style and, for the most part, it does succeed.
Initializing Irreversible Process is a rather quick listen being only 34 minutes in length. These blistering, hyper-speed compositions are unleashed one after the other in rapid succession, making the record appear to be a lot shorter than it is. The band’s take on tech death is one that focuses on brutal, off-kilter rhythms rather than flurries of fretboard-punishing leads (though those still make an appearance here). It is similar to the way Spawn of Possession approaches the genre, albeit more “primal” and more groove focused. The songs are coldly calculated and mechanical, but not in a negative sense. Combined with earworm riffs and melodies and a nod towards the industrial, the majority of this album acts like a punishing soundtrack to the machine uprising.
Tracks like “Quest for Identity” and “Final Innovation – Automatic Time” highlight the band’s penchant for groove, while retaining that tech death playfulness. These tunes offer bouncing, rhythmically-jarring guitar attacks that collide with insanely erratic and inhuman drumming. There are moments on these types of tracks where robotic, tremolo-picked grooves lock-in with hammering drum patterns for catchy and punishing assaults that sound like swarms of robotic insects. “Irreversible Process” and “Through the Veil” also provide ample beatings with their stop-and-start, palm-muted low-end riffs and spiraling solo work. One of the most interesting moments on the record is the penultimate track, “Industrivolutionaction”. Here the band churn out cyclical, palm-muted grooves that are met with sci-fi atmospheres and effects and industrial adjacent drum work. There are hints at industrial metal throughout the record, but none are as realized as this cyborg beatdown.
The record is catchy and has a decent amount of memorable moments. But these moments, like the ones mentioned above, are not explored enough throughout the record. As such, a little less than half of the record falls slightly into tech death convention (such as “Sunshine” and “The Confession”) and don’t really have the same memorability as the album’s more eccentric tunes. A lot of the record does break out of the mold and provides some interesting twists and turns, while staying grounded in the genre’s roots. But a portion of it is really more of the same. It’s not a bad record by any means, and fans of tech death will have fun with it no matter what, but there are plenty of enthralling moments that could have been fleshed out more. It is a decent death metal record and is the step in the right direction for Deceptionist.
Release Date: June 17, 2016
Label: Unique Leader
Favorite Tracks: “Quest for Identity”, “Final Innovation – Automatic Time” and “Operator Nr 3”
For Fans Of: Spawn of Possession, Hideous Divinity and Gorod