REPLACIRE, The Human Burden (2012, self-released)

The skull:
The rendering of this artwork is generally excellent. The background red/orange and the scaly gray of the skull work really well together. We’re a bit torn including this image, however, because of the appearance of a spinal column, but since we like this artwork and music as much as we do, we’ll give it a pass. However, we hate to burst the artist’s bubble, but there’s a little problem with the eyes. Should we tell him they’re in the wrong place, or let him carry on believing it’s all as it should be? Doesn’t he know?

The music:
In a world where sterile blast-attack tech-death is all the rage, Boston band Replacire come as a bit of a breath of fresh air. This is truly progressive death metal, inspired in equal measure, I’m guessing, by the meat-and-potatoes forefathers as by myriad other, stranger bands, in and outside of the death metal realm. If you took the groove, melodies and song craft of Last Crack, the nimbleness of Elements-era Atheist, random moments of Leprous-ness, and the cleaner passages off the last two Akercocke albums, and then  (nope, I’m not done yet) deftly threaded them through a band whose basic foundation recalls something like early Gorguts meets Malevolent Creation, then you’re getting in the basic ballpark of what Replacire does. Each member steps up and delivers an excellent performance, and for material this complex, they craft it in a way that’s never too overly or overtly complicated. The digestibility of this stuff shows exactly why Replacire are a special band with a vision that’s rare in modern metal. It’s a bit worrying that we’re in the second half of 2014 and they haven’t released a follow-up yet, because they clearly have so much more to give, based on this excellent display. Let’s hope they’re still around, but if they changed the band name, that wouldn’t be so bad.
— Friar Wagner