Wow. The last time I heard this Belgian band on 2001’s Codex Barathri, they were playing a solid but unspectacular form of fantasy tinged pagan/folk black metal. Well, apparently starting with 2004’s genre shifting EP Incognition and after some substantial line-up changes, the band decided to play a form of progressive, technical melodic death metal. And they do it really well.Short version? If you liked Disillusion’s Back to Times of Splendor or Edge of Sanity, just go get this now. It has the same ambitious levels of genre bending creativity and seamless melding of styles, except maybe with a more vitriolic sense of blackened urgency (especially vocally). The spiraling mix of futuristic and classical orchestration that backs the seething melodic death metal is up front and complexly grandiose, adding to the music’s already progressive stance, making for a rich and busy, yet enthralling listen.

The album’s 13 tracks are broken into 3 chapters: “The Chain Reaction is Initiated”, “The Chain Reaction is Terminated” an the “Chain Reaction is Saturated”, and comes with the expected interludes and segues (“Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture”, “Foreboding”) but they are not overused or cover done. The album focuses on extremely well crafted and paced tracks that cover the usual gamut of biting, busy, weaving tracks (the enacing “Incognation”, “Prophet Set to Witness”, “Demons Shelter Within”, “A Nation in Atrophy”, “The Midnight Grotesque”, “Ravager”, “Shackles Cross” ) and slower more restrained tracks (“Ashes to Flesh”, “Of Genesis and Apocalypse”, “The Omniscient”) and a ballad (“Threnody For An Ending” featuring Daniel Gildenlow of Pain of Salvation). But even if the tracks do fit a predictable format (slow/fast), within each track is a vast number of dizzying tempos, moods and vocal shifts wrapped in the superb soundtrack-ish synth work, making each track a can’t miss standout and an hour of utterly satisfying, flawless music.

Glossed by an expectedly pristine Studio Fredman production, a cerebral, intelligent concept as well as the flat out stunning songs and musicianship, Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture oozes quality at every serpentine riff and epic keystroke and is arguably the finest melodic death metal album of the year so far

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 30th, 2006


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