Gig Reviews

Archspire slam-dunked Tokyo

Excellent high-energy Canadian tech death on display in Shibuya.

Archspire at Cyclone, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan on 8th October 2023

Canada is a vast country known for its abundance of natural resources. One of its finest natural resources is no doubt Archspire, a tech death metal band from Vancouver. Since their 2011 debut album “All Shall Align”, they have released three more full-length albums, most recently 2021’s “Bleed the Future”. The music is technical madness but full of atmospheric melodies. It is complex, fast, wonderfully weird and genre-ignorant.

The Tech Trek Japan 2023 tour package featured three opening acts which were all very good. Existing in Exile (Nashville death metal), Stortregn (Swiss tech death/black metal) and The Scalar Process (French prog/tech death) did a good job of getting the crowd ready for Archspire. They are all quite different and the combination of the four live acts worked well.

Archspire’s stage show is relentlessly energetic. This evening in Tokyo they were wearing headbands which quickly made sense (although perhaps not fashion-wise) considering how sweaty their performance was. They opened this final show on their Japan tour with the title track from “Bleed the Future” and what followed was a splendid set consisting of songs from the band’s two most recent albums, 2017’s “Relentless Mutation” and “Bleed the Future”. Oli Peters is a terrific vocalist and frontman. Incorporating rap into metal is a fine balancing act that most bands never manage to pull off. Oli’s approach is insanely good. During the show, he backed up his vocal talent with some fine stage moves. The man has a swagger about him.

The technical skills of the band – guitarists Dean Lamb and Tobi Morelli, bassist Jared Smith and drummer Spencer Prewett – are on another level. But they never bore me as some other technically gifted musicians do. These Canadian lads never lose focus on why they are here. They are here to entertain and have a good time with their audience. There was on-stage banter and wonderfully colourful jokes during the show. Hey, there was even a game of Twister taking place involving the band and the audience. Following a full-on and in-your-face show, the band finished on a high with the splendidly fast track “Drone Corpse Aviator”. What a night!

Soundworks Direct Japan do a fine job of bringing excellent bands to Japan. Archspire was one of the best (so far).