The Center That Cannot Hold

Technical Death Metal is one of those sub-genres I must be in the mood for. The same goes for Power Metal, but I’m talking about Replacire and not Sonata Artica; the former being the Eric Alper driven death machine that I had no idea existed and the latter being one of the best Power Metal bands on earth. I’ve followed Eric Alper on Facebook for years  and I honestly didn’t know that dude’s got a band… but now that I do let me tell you, constant reader, Replacire (his name spelled backwards) is a band you need in your life.

Their first album (that I haven’t heard yet) The Human Burden was crowdfunded in 2012 and I feel like I should go and listen to it, but I’m not reviewing that one, so here’s to the matter at hand. “Bloody-Tongued and Screaming” is the first song on The Center That Cannot Hold and maybe it’s just me but it’s kind of Slipknot-ish I’m not going to lie, the poly rhythms that are going on are fucking magical, this is like if Slipknot and Meshuggah had an ugly as fuck love child and maybe Fear Factory was in that unholy union somewhere, I don’t know but this track and title “The Center That Cannot Hold” break into some interesting almost Nü Metal elements and breakdowns galore, one minute vicious and the next lulling with some whispering before another blast sneaks in.

Featuring James Dorton of Black Crown Initiate and the man himself Eric Alper along with Kee Poh Hock – Guitars, Zak Baskin – Bass and Joey Ferretti – Drums; Replacire is a force to be dealt with. These are eleven tracks of pure Tech-Death fury, and much more than that too. This album has secrets…

“Living Hell” is the shortest track at 2:58 but even in that short period of time Replacire are able to get Earth shatteringly heavy, the song is literally one giant breakdown, staccato drums, and riffing. All this just reminds me that I was shitty at math, because “Living Hell” is like a gut punch geometry lesson and the last 15 seconds of the track are absolutely pummeling. “A Fine Manipulation” has some killer clean singing in the chorus and then there’s the cymbal ‘ting’ right before the songs end and a bowel-crushing delivery leads into “The Helix Unravels” and Jesus fucking Christ this album keeps getting better and better, the riffs and structure make it sounds like a massive atomic string is unraveling and collapsing on itself. Those magnificent riffs!

“Drag Yourself Across the Earth” is one of those slow beat downs, that is written solely to put you, constant reader, in traction. Clean vocals battle with the growls, a mid-section that has a festival-popping solo and seismic groove that’s almost jazzy like some cosmic shit that Atheist would pull, even Pestilence if I wanted to be cocky.

“Inglorious Impunity” is another Death Metal Jazz workout; veering into Cynic territory, while retaining the vicious complexity of the track.

“The Ghost in the Mirror” is punishingly beautiful, clean vocals show up more on what would be the second half of the album, the brutal barrage of “Hoard the Trauma” reminding me of Hideous Divinity at first and then those clean vocals kick back in around 1:53 and it’s so goddamn glorious, spiraling solo bits mix with the psychotic drums and the clear as a bell bass. “Transfixed on the Work” the next to last track to hurt you continually has these scatter-shot pieces that are like shotgun blasts to the slowly dwindling body of the album.

The last track, and longest, “Uncontrolled and Unfulfilled” is managed chaos on a Gorod level; this mesmerizing introduction where the notes envelop your eardrums and if put to visualization would resemble a DNA strand caught in a tornado of blast beats and utterly complex riffs that sound like the creator had six fingers.

As I mentioned before, this is my first experience with Replacire. I went into this album blind as a bat and came out happy as a pig in Zen. The Center That Cannot Hold is a brutish gorilla of a Tech-Death Metal record. It puts your ass down on one mountain and then you’re jettisoned to another dimension with a different mountain. A phenomenal release, and if you dig the groovy sounds of Gorod, Xoth, Hideous Divinity and Allegaeon, you will eat this motherfucker up.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
July 3rd, 2024


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