Album Review: The Scalar Process – “Coagulative Matter” 7/10 (Tech Death)

Written by Carcassbomb

The Scalar ProcessCoagulative Matter
Technical Death Metal from France
Releases February 19th, 2021
Via Transcending Obscurity Records
7/10

There’s so much room in this bad boy. Some albums you put on and demand entertainment every second from, and then albums like this one that you can just put on and expect it to fill the room. You won’t always be aware of everything going on, you’ll daze in and out of the majesty of it. It’s a slower-paced kind of tech death with a strong emphasis on atmospheric instrumentals, well, it’s still fast as hell but more spread out. 

Spotify

It’s instrumentally driven but not instrumental. The vocals give a lot of space for the guitars to do their bullshit and when the vocals are present they’re usually either mixed in lower so it becomes more accentuation or it’s brought forward during epic surges in energy, requiring higher growls. I feel like this could easily have been instrumental as it’s musically powerful but I also know how that limits a band significantly in terms of audience. Their band name, The Scalar Process is also VERY tech instrumental sounding. Fortunately, the placement and mixing on the vocals ensure they’re never overbearing, it’s quite sparse but it is effective and surprising when the singer does shine. It’s just not always necessary.

Coagulative Matter is like a spiral. When it’s bunched up you get a flurry of palm mutes alternating with high notes and a sense of descending or ascending quickly. Then you begin to take the spiral and gradually stretch it out, making the notes longer and more thoughtful but at a strolling pace that ponders the skies. The third and final thing to do with a spiral is to slam it shut together, and this is when the absolute pounding happens, like tenderizing a chicken breast. These are the three modes available and the band spends the length of the album manipulating this spiral excellently, hitting all the beats that circulate between these three modes. The only downside of this spiral is that it travels in a singular direction in either direction, you will not experience other spirals, you will only experience this one. The spiral I want is stretched out and vibrating, which is very much how this album ends. I love the ending. 

Artwork by Bastien Jez

The Scalar Process operates on a level somewhere between Archspire and Opeth without committing too strongly in either direction. Personally, I prefer the quieter parts of the music that lets the drums roll lightly with atmospheric guitar melodies patiently laid over top along with a consistent nod from the bass. That best describes the track “Mirror Cognition” which really highlights how much of an instrumentally driven album this is. A lot of the time when bands go on long instrumental discourse I become restless like “Come on, get to the meat” but with Coagulative Matter, I enjoy the discourse the most and care not if it ever comes to the meat. I could just let it go on and on with elongated solos played against intelligent drumming. The guitar tone is mint. 

The heavier faster parts of the album are not bad by any means but they don’t feel as special as the previously mentioned moments, it feels more in line with what is simply expected of a tech death album. A lot of it might come down to the production needing more tweaking on the crunchier parts but it sounds great on the clean work. I’d say it works best during the black metal infused parts where it combines the atmosphere and the heaviness with nice blast beats.

Coagulated Matter has a lot to compete with in terms of current releases but it has left a strong impression for the band. I’ll definitely be keeping up with The Scalar Process to see what they do in the future

7/10


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