Making great melodic death metal requires a careful balance of light and dark. By its very nature, the music should be driven by memorable guitar melodies. But it still needs to be crushing and heavy, or else why bother? There’s nuance involved in the production as well. It probably shouldn’t be as raw as an early Morbid Angel demo, but you don’t want to drain the music of its edge either.
Archaic Decapitator finds that balance and cuts its head clean off on their new EP, The Apothecary. Check out “Skyward” below and lose yourself in the riffs, before you’re smashing by the very tasteful breakdowns and spun out with the also tasteful use of keyboards and sweep picking. It’s thrilling music for anyone who loves The Gallery-era of Dark Tranquility, but longs for some of the black metal nods present on Skydancer. The band’s music is entrancing, powerful and fun all at the same time.
As for the band itself, they apparently started as a super-gory death metal band in 2007, but underwent a radical stylistic shift later on. Funny that they decided to stick with the brutal band name. On a personal note, I was pumped to see that the band is from my home state of Connecticut AND that they’re produced by my friend Dave Kaminsky, who plays guitar for In Human Form. Small world, even smaller state.