Originally reviewed here.
Spawn of Possession is yet another technical death metal band. The band has been around for awhile now, though I have not previously had an opportunity to check them out. This is the band's third full-length and their first one in six years. I had heard good things about their prior albums, with some calling them a cross between Obscura and Necrophagist. So I was kind of anxious to hear this group.
The first thing that I noticed with this release is that the band bears a much stronger sonic resemblance to Obscura than to Necrophagist. I have mentioned several times my standard for what is good technical death metal compared to bad stuff. Even though I like Necrophagist, their sound can sometimes come off as cold and sterile. It is as if the band exists to be as technical as possible without much concern for crafting decent songs. Again, I like Necrophagist, but some imitators such as Brain Drill come off as far too mechanical. Obscura on the other hand sounds more human, though still very technical.
There is definitely a lot of alternating guitar shredding and noodling. Despite this, the individual band members do a nice job of making it sound interesting. Sometimes the overly technical groups get too bogged down in throwing a ton of riffs and leads in and the whole thing kind of comes apart at the seems. It is often hard to listen music like that for long. The constant interjecting sounds get to be too much to really handle and interest is lost quickly. Spawn of Possession avoid this by at least keeping tracks grounded in one cohesive idea. The vocals do a nice job of keeping things on track too.
Spawn of Possession's biggest gift is their ability to write songs that emphasize the technicality but are not afraid to be melodic at the same time. The band may shift time signatures and throw riffs out of nowhere, but there appears to be a method and reason for everything. That is often lost in other bands that sound like one long technical guitar improvised jam session. Spawn of Possession have crafted their songs to be stand-alone tracks with the technicality something of an afterthought.
I came away from this release very impressed. Obscura and Decrepit Birth have been two of my absolute favorite technical death metal bands for some time. I would place Spawn of Possession up on that pedestal alongside those two groups. This is simply a terrific example of technical death metal done well.