- multi genre brilliance
Note: The band reached out and let me know the story behind the album is here so feel free to check that out afterwards and potentially mock me.
The raw emotion and peaks from the debut LP returns here in a big way, the goosebumps are back. The third and most recent album from Archivist offers a continuation of a running story, what appears to be a story of macro transformation. Look at the artwork (all by Alex CF) and you can see the transition from human, to machine and now to some kind of cosmic being no longer resembling a humanoid at all. The lyrical themes have followed the same transition, from emotional struggle of humanity, to the mechanical malady and now finally the emotional weight of the cosmos and confronting god. Perhaps a man made god, a literal and physical manifestation of the idea made real through circuits and programming. As always these are my own ignorant interpretations based on no research, something I like to do as an exercise.
Another proposition is something I noticed in the art, the little pieces of space in on the body, the implication being this character is beyond space and time and the universe is contained within him, the godhead. It also reminds me of the animated short in Life, Death And Robots: Zima Blue where a legendary artist would paint intricate cosmos imagery with an inexplicable blue square in the middle that would increase with each piece until the blue became the art entirely.
I consider this to be their best form yet, the blending of the genres has become so natural to them that now it’s not even a thing to notice. This record is just it’s own sound now, they’ve always been thematically realized but now they are instrumentally fully realized too. The things I hadn’t paid attention to previously feel more prominent, the drums and bass. They’re popping a lot harder through the long tremolo riffing guitarwork and devastating melodic death/hardcore vocals. Vocally it’s gotten better which is insane because I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of the music. On Triumvirate there’s also more layering of cleans over unclean which is something I will always lap up. The death vocals have gotten so much stronger since 2017, when employed it carries the power of your most brutal death metal record and yet with the tenderness of post metal. It’s magnificent. Then there the classic hardcore technique of layered cleans that almost chant like the whole band is singing. The cleans have gained nuance and huskiness too which thickens those passages. There’s so much variation done masterfully.
An interesting bit of info from google about the album title:
“A triumvirate is a political regime ruled or dominated by three powerful individuals known as triumvirs. The arrangement can be formal or informal. Though the three are notionally equal, this is rarely the case in reality.”
An interesting title given the nature of the previous two. While the idea in real life applies more to politics and land dominion, this feels like it has more to do with a shifting power dynamic between kinds of gods. I don’t know who the third character would be here, but I feel the woman from the first album becomes the construct who confronts the machine god, believing it to have forsaken her or humanity in some way, unable to truly shake the initial despair of archiving the earths demise. Another idea is something I’m gonna borrow from Morrowind, the idea of a Godhead whose dream we all live inside. If you realize the dream then you become lucid and powerful, you become a god. I think maybe the trinity here is the construct confronting the machine god in a futile argument because lingering over both of them is Godhead. Whether I’m close or completely wrong doesn’t matter, this band gives me a lot to think about and I appreciate that.
The lyrics are insane yet again, this time it seems to fully transcend into abstract madness that tickles me in the way an unsolvable mystery does. At some point I would love to compile it all and really get a feel for it. Something very interesting to me this time is that I noticed many of the lyrics on the bandcamp aren’t actually on the record. They’re flavor text contributing to the story, not the record. This was meant to be read on it’s own, to be followed and understood. And I definitely want to do that.
Overall this is the band to hear right now no matter what your heavy music inclinations are. There’s something for everybody and beneath the surface appears to be something someone in particular. I cannot be more excited for what comes next, and I am more than willing to wait for it while I pour over this source material for some time. They hit on death, black, post and hardcore in a way that is never jarring and feels masterful across the disciplines. Every track is a new parcel to unravel.
Just get on it.