Technical Death Metal is a hard genre to truly master; a band must provide a sense of technicality, they must show that they have mastered their respective instruments and show that their songwriting skills are diverse enough for the album to not feel repetitive, or in other words, have some flavour. Take Archspire for example, their latest release has shown that they are capable of upholding the roots of Technical Death Metal while at the same time, providing an atmosphere of controlled chaos. With Cronaxia’s debut album, Collapsing the Outer Structure, the tech death trio have successfully portrayed themselves as an interesting up and coming band with a meticulous balance of technicality, brutality and proficiency.
Having formed the band in early 1997, I’m really surprised their only coming out with their debut album in 2018, the band is older than I am! After what sounds like a tenuous process of a revolving door of band members, complications and personal differences, they have finally released their first album, which really manages to capture their viciousness and accuracy.
Opening with the title track “Collapsing the Outer Structure”, the painful 11 year wait of releasing their record and the built up frustration is projected in the most intense and energetic way imaginable, beginning with studio drummer Roland Barros blasting his way through the kit, a technical riff by guitarists Renato and Filipe that is bound to get any listener automatically interested and intrigued by their unimaginable talent, as well as studio bassist Alex slapping away and creating a compelling layer that really brings the band’s chemistry together. While only counting in at 2:08, the short track is nothing but effective in displaying their raw aggression and dumbfounding, fasted paced action.
Blasting their way through “Logarithmic Cavitation”, the third track on the album, “The Core Condition”, sees a change in momentum, while still upholding the speed and intensity of the title track and the second track. Barros’ skill and dexterity really hold together the Portuguese Technical Death Metal trio, as his playing, combined with Alex’s proficiency on the bass guitar add an extra layer of depth that really captivates the trio’s vision of controlling insanity.
The standout track to me on Collapsing the Outer Structure by Technical Death Metal trio Cronaxia is easily the closing track on the album, “Tangential Threshold”. Showcasing the level of talent in songwriting and playing of guitarists Renato and Filipe, the song has everything from shreddy riffs, unique harmonies and a gorgeous melodic section towards the end that proves that the guitarists are able to tone it down and relax, while at the same time bringing forward the brutality. Vocalist Sérgio showcases his talent and proves that he is a valued and important member of the band, providing vocals suited to Technical Death Metal, really taking inspiration from Oliver Rae Aleron and his vocal styles.
Starting on the segment of “did this band use their bassist effectively?”, bassist Alex truly, truly provides an outstanding performance on this record, something I have not heard (to this extent) so far at my time at Overdrive. Ranging from bass tapping techniques, to slap bass, and even following the root note sometimes, Alex provides an intense layer of depth and atmosphere which helps bring the album together and sound more whole. After a performance such as his on Collapsing the Outer Structure, following the root note in a few sections is more than acceptable, especially when it’s necessary, but not overdone.
Portugese Technical Death Metal trio Cronaxia have finally come out with their first full length album, showcasing their talented songwriting skills and their technicality to provide a stunning, impressive and brutal debut.