Replicant – Negative Life (2018) REVIEW

The organism and it’s environment is a relationship intended as balanced oneness, harmonized through evolution as each is transformed by the struggle of persistent change over time. Replicant‘s ‘Negative Life’ shows a cohesive family unit collectively and personally struggling within a demolished environment as the organism cries out in pain, lost without any real symbiosis. In a way their mutated technical death metal reek of frustration and disdain more than tech-death’s typical flaunted ambition or showmanship. The growling mockery of Immolation and the heady, forceful crawl of Demilich feed the furnace of ‘Negative Life’ as the ethos of Gorguts and Deathspell Omega scour away traditional values. Replicant are forging a path towards the future of death metal that is even more virulent and toxic than their influences, scraped free and mangled from the constraints of a symbiotic biome ‘Negative Life’ intends to inflict only terror and pain upon.

Depraved and raw, without nourishment or filtration, the east coast New York / New Jersey area is a reliable spawning ground for vile and crypt-scouring death metal and technical ‘-core’ variants alike. The guitar compositions on ‘Negative Life’ readily excrete touches of millennial noise/mathcore-isms as often as they resemble ‘Obscura’-informed futurist Immolation-ists. It might never reach fully into Psyopus‘ pure chaos but technique often incorporates elements of Botch into Pyrrhon-esque storms of clangor though I should stress that these are touches, nods, and not full hybridization. The primary forms within Replicant‘s guitar sculpting are clearly rooted in the work of Ulcerate and stylistically lean towards the more abrupt and savage earlier works of that band as well as Gorguts ‘From Wisdom to Hate’ were it modernized.  I’d like to compare this to their work in long running death metal band Dystrophy but fans of that band will only find slight hints of their guitar approach on ‘Wretched Host’ and not enough DNA to seriously connect the two.

This isn’t a blasting, faceless, or fully dissonant technical death metal album and one of it’s strengths is it’s earnest and almost artistic feeling. Each song differentiates it’s influence beyond variation. ‘Negative Life’ begins with several tracks littered with head bobbing electrically charged, mathcore-ish riffs and as it progresses to it’s second half it melts into a more dissonant death metal despondency. The eventual blurring of shapes makes for an album initially seething and warm that festers with bubbling slime then chills over and dries out in an unsatisfying finale. It is hard to justify 45 minutes of tech death regardless of how stylish it is if new sounds aren’t introduced on the second half. This is a traditional near-sighted failing of most technical death metal, the artist who never stands more than three feet from his/her painting. The first half of ‘Negative Life’ is so strong and Replicant are such a worthy addition to forward-focused, tasteful technical death metal that I can’t lay major fault on the albums slow death. ‘Negative Life’ is a ragged technical death metal beast set loose of it’s cage and the guitar havoc Replicant wreaks is fresh and inspired enough to warrant repeat listening.


Artist Replicant
Type Album
Released March 23, 2018
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Accept your hollow shell. 3.75/5.0

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