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Replacire - Do Not Deviate

Replacire
Do Not Deviate
by Harry Green at 23 June 2017, 6:49 AM

REPLACIRE have been touted as a promising tech-death group for some time since their 2012 debut “The Human Burden”, and their second album, 2017’s “Do Not Deviate”, looks to solidify that. Formed in 2010 in Boston, USA, REPLACIRE have attracted attention on Bandcamp for being a tech-death group that is Not Just Technical Wankery, an appellation that gets attached to an awful lot of bands that specialize in non-technical wankery, which I would argue is significantly worse. The band in question, however, deserves closer scrutiny as the album is very much a mixed bag.

The first track serves as a kind of overture, as is often the case. “Horsestance” continues in the trend of uptempo openers and demonstrates what the album has to offer, perhaps promising too much on that front. The clean vocals shown off here and sprinkled throughout the album are a vital breath of fresh air, adding a much-needed melodic layer to the compositions. The good bits of the album remind me of Sympathy (a band whose anonymity is a crying shame); “Built Upon the Grave of He Who Bends” is illustrative. At their best, REPLACIRE have the same eerie atmosphere, minus the light keyboards – same chord transitions, structures and note sequences. The use of black metal-like tremolos and descending mid-to-quick-tempo palm muted riffs are particularly notable. There are also some oddly blustery riffs on here that remind one of Aletheian’s unique leads. A group that simply sought to blend these two bands would already get high praise from me, but to its credit “Do Not Deviate” aims for a higher goal. That being said, the band falls short.

REPLACIRE are competent musicians and composers; but their riffs, the fundamental building blocks, are inconsistent here. “Any Promise” in particular is a technical, well-composed but ultimately boring track that reminded me of undeservedly venerated tech-death institution Decrepit Birth. Often the band will jump from excellent to dull over the course of a single transition, sometimes even a single riff (see the one-minute mark of “Act, Re-Enact”), which makes it very difficult to judge the overall quality of any given track. In addition, they have what you might call “Bloodshot Dawn syndrome” – i.e. being a band that are technically and compositionally competent (and incidentally also very hyped on Bandcamp) but also more importantly play with a lot of energy that sometimes convinces the listener that the riff is better than it actually is. Despite having two good opening riffs, “Moonbred Chains” is definitely the best example of said syndrome on this album. The tracks “Spider Song” and “Enough For One” demonstrate that it’s possible for the band to make indisputably good tech-death songs, and I look forward to an entire album of such material. As it stands now, this inconsistency strikes a serious blow to the album’s memorability.

That being said, it’s definitely a solid album on the whole. Most of the tracks are at least decent and there are some standout tunes, with only one or two tracks one could fairly call weak. REPLACIRE are taking in some choice influences to alter their sound, and it’s definitely a more coherent outing than their debut. They’ve got some work to do refining their riffing and trimming fat, but they’ve managed to streamline well.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8
Memorability: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Horsestance
2. Act, Re-Enact
3. Built Upon the Grave of He Who Bends
4. Any Promise
5. Cold Repeater
6. Reprise
7. Moonbred Chains
8. Do Not Deviate
9. Spider Song
10. Travelling Through Abyss
11. Enough For One
Lineup:
Evan Berry – Vocals
Eric Alper – Guitars, backing vocals
Stephen Pierce – Guitars
Zak Baskin – Bass
Blaize Collard – Drums
Record Label: Season of Mist
     


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Edited 22 January 2020
 

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