Mute Books by Auroch

Release date: October 21, 2016
Label: Profound Lore Records

Profound Lore Records has released its fair share of technical death metal in spite of the modern/technical death metal trend dying out some years ago, but that doesn’t mean that tech death is without its own kvlt following. In fact, technical death metal has since evolved into a sound less frenetic and more dissonant, starting the wave of anti-technical death metal that began with bands like Portal becoming infamous for the style. Another band of that ilk is Auroch, and their record a few years ago entitled Taman Shud struck me as one of Profound Lore’s better releases that year, if not one of the best death metal albums to go out in that time frame. They’re back with another less dissonant but impressive album nonetheless, the less-hyped Mute Books full-length.

Mute Books is technically-challenging to play, challenging in some respects to appreciate due to its hyperspeed riffs using a thousand little licks per song. The technique doesn’t mirror the modern wankery that typified lesser bands like The Faceless many years ago. The album goes by in minute blasts of hyperion riffs and challenging lead play that never gets tedious or boring. The album is also devoid of deathcore breakdowns, and while its hard to identify a particular song that stands out, this circumstance can be an advantage for a fan intent on listening to an album’s worth of quality material, and not fishing for hit tracks for a playlist.

It’s also worth noting that the band frequently tremolo-pick through difficult chord transitions instead of summoning a herculean but tired technique of sweep picking while the left hand roves the fretboard. While slightly melodic and less dissonant than Taman Shud, Mute Books is a worthy edition to Auroch’s discography, even if Taman Shud may perhaps remain their most compelling album to listen to. Mute Books is certainly not far behind in quality and style then, and is worth a listen for fans of tech death, fans of anti-tech, and fans of death metal in general.

The drums and vocals play second-fiddle here, but the drums are no-less challenging and fun. The drums blast and slow down in full command of the tempo changes. The fill-ins are less-enthralling than the impressive blastbeats the band uses at furious paces, but the drums generally stay on target, minimalist in comparison to tech death bands that have released albums devoid of black metal touches. The vocals are standard and the lyrics might prove interesting in-line with the content the band utilizes. The bass follows the guitar in near absent but effective mimicry of the difficult riffs, and I wish the band used bass lines that would intertwine as well as occasionally branch out of the interplay between guitars and drums sometimes.

Overall, Mute Books has no faults, featuring songwriting simpler than that of prior album Taman Shud. For some fans, this means Mute Books might be easier for them to appreciate. Listen to the album and judge for yourselves. I’m certain that fans won’t find this a bad album. On the contrary, it might come down to your perception of the year’s best tech death releases. So, whether you may have similar projections as to just how good Mute Books stacks up against the competition, listen to the stream with an open mind and listen intently to the endless array of challenging riffs the band plays here. The guitar is frequently the focal point of technical death metal, but bands that play black metal suffused with technically-challenging riffs are novelty acts in a scene awash with second-wave black metal revisionists. For no other reason than to experience something refreshing, stream this now and get a kick out of Auroch’s unique take on extreme metal.

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