Damim and Cryptic Shift pick their favourite tech death releases!

Ahead of their upcoming ZT sponsored UK mini-tour with Hour Of Penance, we join Damim and Cryptic Shift to discuss their top technical death metal releases.

This recently renamed London quartet will be known to any self-respecting aficionado of underground extremity in the UK. DAMIM (pr. “d.-meem”) are noteworthy for a unique approach that not only incorporates technicality, but an uncommon sense of impassioned existential cathartic outrage into their twisted metal sculpture. Mainman Nathanael shares his thoughts on essential tech death releases.


There is no such thing as an authoritative conversation that does not reference this masterpiece by the pioneers of the most precisely executed brutality in musical history. Imitated countless times, but Effigy… still leaves would-be usurpers in the dust to this day.

Favourite track:Infecting The Crypts’

One of the more recent works on this list embodies a zenith of sorts for this gang of ancient Egyptian brutality ubernerds. Annihilation… presents a band having developed their very own exceptional sound and approach at a nexus of proficiency and creativity. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the devastatingly violent and technical Annihilation Of The Wicked is how this outfit have incorporated some of the heaviest moments on record in the past two decades. Unmissable.

Favourite track: ‘Cast Down The Heretic’ for the succession of 10-odd facemelting solos if nothing else.

Any death metal fan worth their salt knows that 1991 produced some of the greatest albums in the genre. Uncommon vocals for the genre propel this already juggernautic instrumental symbiosis into eternity and beyond. In terms of technicality, brutality, sound, progression and outlook, even the most jaded contrarians will struggle to dispute the enduring importance of this monumental metal slab of downright musical genius. Special mention of the transcendentally and ferociously metronomic catharsis courtesy of Sean Reinhart.

Favourite track: all of them

The possessed gestalt of barely-contained unhinged antagonism that is Morbid Angel at their very best, this was a shift in gears and a return to a more honest sound after the precise but controversially – some might even say sterile – “B” album. Driven by the inimitably brutal Sandoval powerhouse, the alternation between the furiously honed barrage of the likes of ‘Rapture’ and unadulterated dirgy fith that is ‘God Of Emptiness’, Covenant remains a firm favourite to this day.

Favourite track: ‘Pain Divine’

Other noteworthy greats include:
Iniquity – Five Across The Eyes
Pyaemia – Cerebral Cereal
Gorguts – The Erosion Of Sanity
Ripping Corpse – Dreaming With The Dead
Disincarnate – Dreams Of The Carrion Kind

Cryptic Shift

Taking cues from a variety of tech death influences, Astrodeath trailblazers Cryptic Shift have come to be known for the laser-precision and firepower of their technical and progressive death metal arsenal. We spoke with Ryan about the alien collectives’ most valued relics.

The way Morbid Angel cranked their songwriting efforts after the David Vincent era is one of the greatest embodiments of technicality, brutality, musicianship and performance! The showcase of Commando’s drumming intensity and Trey Azagthoth’s virtuose creativity are above all: Formulas… continues to power the Cryptic Shift quantum inspiration drive!

Favourite Track: ‘Invocation Of The Continual One’

Without the shadow of a doubt the most DISGUSTING record on our list, Gorguts’ third album Obscura pushes boundaries in terms of technical performances, but vaporises any prior limitations altogether when you consider the stylistic departure this album represents. It is with Steeve Hurdle’s influence that Gorguts took an already genre-defining blueprint of a sound to create a superlatively dissonant, dismal and devastating result. I have lost count of the number of listens Obscura has clocked on the Ryan counter, but the performance on this record leaves me speechless to this day.

Favourite Track: ‘The Carnal State’

Unquestionable Presence takes us back to our roots and reminds me of the shared interest we had in this record before the band even came into existence. I gotta say, the highlight of this record has to be Roger Patterson’s performance (not to be mistaken for the guy from the Big Foot Hoax Footage), the greatest bass player to ever exist within the genre. We can’t get enough of his songwriting skills and jazz stylings.

Favourite Track: ‘Your Life’s Retribution’

Finally, the cosmic journey ends with none other than Pestilence’s fourth record Spheres. The inimitably Sci-Fi soundscapes conjured by Spheres exerted a potent influence on us when we crafted our debut record. The synth-guitar work on this record throws the listener into an immersive world, lightyears away from Planet Earth. Mameli taking cues from jazz-fusion artists Tribal Tech and Allan Holdsworth really speaks to us. Spheres is by far one of the coolest records we’ve ever heard.

Favourite Track: ‘Multiple Beings’

Honourable Mentions:
Timeghoul – Tumultuous Travelings
Atrocity – Todessenschut
Martyr – Warp Zone
John Williams – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Soundtrack

See DAMIM & CRYPTIC SHIFT on tour with Hour Of Penance this December 2019
Tuesday 10th -LEEDS, [BOOM]
Wednesday 11th -NOTTINGHAM, The Angel Microbrewery (no Cryptic Shift)
Thursday 12th -LONDON, Nambucca Friday 13th -BRIGHTON, The Green Door Store

Thanks for dropping in!

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