Well this definitely on my list for most improved tech death bands of 2020.  Kansas City Missouri’s Ahtme return with their 2nd full length album Mephitic.  I must admit I was a bit ho-hum regarding their 2018 debut Sewerborn.   It beyond clear that the sound of the group has matured a bit and the song writing is outstanding with this second release.

Opening up with “Swarm of Fools” the riff cavalcade begins.  This particular tune starts off with a bit of a thrashy feel.   You can really hear the Dallas Toler Wade Narcotic Wasteland influence on the riffing.  Dalton Harper does a hell of a job holding down all of the guitars.  Vocalist Brent Turnbow is almost completely audible and it is always nice to be able to make out the lyrics as you following along with tunes.  I actually prefer the mid-range vocal style as I feel it fits this style of death metal better.

It is clear that these guys have been together for awhile having changed the name of the Group from Roman Holiday to Ahtme a few years ago. “Putrid Perforation” almost has an Aborted vibe. It is insane how all over the fretboard Harper and bassist Craig Bruenger.  Drummer Jordan Plumer kills it the whole album. “Node” reminds me a bit of Psycroptic.  There are some similarities in how both Ahtme and Psycroptic approach song writing with only having one guitarist.  The leadwork on this particular track reminds me of an old Swedish band, Luciferion (Check out Demonicaton: The Manifest. Classic). “Dissolve” almost has a Necrophagist Onset to Putrefaction feel.

Mephitic has an excellent flow to the album and is an absolute banger start to finish.  “Dent” sounds like it was influenced by Negation/ Organic Hallucinosis Decapitated (In a good way). “No Stone Sacred” is one of the longer tracks on the album and has some of the better build on the record. The harmony and melodic tinges throughout are well thought out. “Valley of Gourds” opens up with some incredibly intricate triplet riffs.   Again, the riffing style sounds incredibly influenced by the Nile camp here. They do a pretty tasteful job of mixing and building these tunes.  Pretty impressive.

Wrapping things up with “Devourment Empowerment” the album ends about as up tempo as it starts. Listen to this with caffeine unless you have a heart condition. At over 36 minutes Mephitic has just about perfect flow from track to track. Overall, these monsters from Missouri have crushed it with their 2nd release and like many Unique Leader releases this year (Cytotoxin, Exocrine, etc.) should absolutely be on your radar if you are looking for an extremely catchy, well played technical death album.  Thumbs way up for this one.  I think this album will do very well for these guys.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
September 17th, 2020


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