Sunday 10 October 2021

The Scalar Process - Coagulative Matter

Labels: Transcending Obscurity Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 19 Feb 2021


1. Elevation

2. Cosmic Flow

3. Ink Shadow

4. Celestial Existence

5. Mirror Cognition

6. Poisoned Fruit

7. Azimuth

8. Beyond The Veil Of Consciousness

9. Ouroboros

10. Coagulative Matter

11. Somnambulation

Coagulative Matter is the debut album from French technical death metal trio The Scalar Process,  made up of guitarist/composer Eloi Nicod, vocalist Mathieu Lefevre and drummer Clement Denys (of Fractal Universe, who provides all session drums on this recording). It was released very early in 2021 by constantly rising Indian extreme metal label Transcending Obscurity Records. The Scalar Process brings technical/progressive death metal brimming with lyrical themes about space, spirituality, psychology and even depression. It comes on both physical CD and digital formats, with the CD pressing comprising of a limited coffin-shaped wooden box set (which was limited to 60 and is now sold out) and an 8-panel digipack edition that is still available.

Over recent years I’ve found myself gravitating to the sludgier, dirtier old-school end of death metal’s spectrum. I do enjoy the more modern progressive sound though. You can’t read too much into what’s coming on the album from opener ‘Elevation’, as it acts as more of an intro. I often think that three-piece bands playing this form of death metal can sound a little thin, but actually that’s not an issue for The Scalar Process, as it helps their progressive/jazz influences come through more in the recording. They flit between fast extreme tempos and musicianship, and more introspective instrumental virtuosity (but not the overtly obtuse kind). The latter instrumental experimentation is definitely a key part of their sound, as demonstrated by ‘Cosmic Flow’. ‘Ink Shadow’ is more of a characteristic tech-death song (if ever there was one) with an excellent guitar-led mid-section and solo (which was provided by guest musician Scott Carstairs of Fallujah). 

For me, most bands of this ilk can be quite formulaic in approach and don’t put enough variation into their albums. I’m really enjoying this one so far though as The Scalar Process have crafted something that’s not just constant blasts and monotone screaming. They vary song-lengths, heaviness, technicality and melody to stop things from becoming stale. They stretch their sound slightly on ‘Celestial Existence’ yet they always keep coming back to that engrossing instrumental closing piece that’s so effective.

Talking engrossing instrumentals, ‘Mirror Cognition’ takes you on a trip through the galaxy without you even needing to leave the ground, through earthy guitar and calming sounds right up to the closing sixty seconds, where things change drastically as black metal-like high pitched vocals (guest vocals here were provided by Mark Garrett of Kardashev/Viraemia) and raging percussion take over. The levels of precision on show throughout Coagulative Matter are obvious, especially on ‘Poisoned Fruit’. It’s a prime example of the skill of the band.

One of the most pleasing aspects of this album (if I haven’t already mentioned it) is the melody. It’s exemplified on ‘Azimuth’ via the guitar work, subtle electronic effects and additional choral vocals from guest vocalist Enlia. Add to that the constantly blasting percussion and low growls, and the song seems much longer that it’s two hundred and fifty five second playing time. The same can be said for the rest of the songs here as well. Things remain very similar on ‘Beyond The Veil Of Consciousness’, though there’s a lot more progression at play. Once again the band nails the atmosphere with the addition of clean vocals that sit  deeper amongst the instumentation.

After the headfirst and technical battering that’s just been delivered, there’s a short piano/orchestral piece called ‘Ouroboros’. It leads into the positively mammoth title-track ‘Coagulative Matter’ that resides over eleven minutes and is the penultimate song. If you’ve ever listened to UK death metal band Cryptic Shift, you might find some similarities when listening to this. It’s the closest comparison I can make without just naming constant names. Joining the main trio on this song is Tommy Bonnevialle (of Virulent Depravity and Deathawaits) who provides a piano solo, adding to the grandeur already on show. It’s quite hard to believe that this is a debut album. Ending with the otherworldly ’Somnambulation’, with cosmic choral harmonies and electronic sounds of the galaxy, it all comes to calming close.

You can stream and purchase the album digitally below, where you can also watch videos or 'Azimuth' and 'Beyond The Veil Of Consciousness':-

You can also purchase the 8-panel digipack cd version of the album above.

The Scalar Process -

Transcending Obscurity Records -

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